Karlsruhe (dpa) - Order a pizza quickly or make an appointment with the hairdresser - one call is all it takes. No big deal, you might think. But for some. For Stephanie Cao, for example.

She is young, pretty, fluent and has more than 3000 subscribers on YouTube. The 23-year-old student from Berlin has no hesitation in posting a video of herself lasting several minutes on the Internet. But she is afraid to make an appointment on the phone.

Like others, she prefers to type on the smartphone or take long journeys to make an appointment. The main thing is not to make calls. This is called telephone phobia. It could become a new form of social phobia, says Nadine D. Wolf, senior physician at the psychiatric clinic at Heidelberg University Hospital who specializes in phobias. The reason is the changed communication behavior.

Philippe Wampfler, media educator and lecturer at the University of Zurich, describes the change as follows: “In the past, you had three options if you wanted to borrow the neighbor's lawn mower: phone, write a letter or go over there. Today you quickly write a WhatsApp. That is the path of least resistance. »

According to the 2018 JIM study - JIM stands for youth, information media - 95 percent of young people between the ages of 12 and 19 in Germany regularly exchange information solely via this communication platform. Only one in five people still used their smartphones to make phone calls every day.

"I think people used to have reservations about calling someone," says media educator Wampfler. “But after school or after studying and at work, they learned to make calls. Simply because they had to. It's more pleasant today. »

Stephanie Cao's video, in which she describes why she hates making calls, apparently speaks to many from the heart: "OMG - I am so relieved," writes a young woman. She thought she was the only one with the problem.

For Heidelberg psychiatrist Wolf, there are a number of reasons why someone has inhibitions about making calls: “Fear of being rejected, fear of being embarrassing or demeaning on the phone, or simply that you are completely on the phone The center of attention is standing and talking to unknown people. »

She sees telephone phobia as a type of social phobia that is particularly common among young people: "There are indications that up to 17 percent of young people between the ages of 14 and 20 suffer from it." Young women more than men. From blushing, trembling, stuttering to fear of vomiting or wetting - the symptoms of feared situations can be serious.

You should seek medical advice if the fear is so great that it restricts everyday life. "Then you should learn to make new calls again under therapeutic guidance," she says. Resident psychiatrists or psychotherapists could help - and additional self-help groups in which you can exchange ideas with like-minded people.

But what makes calling so difficult? "Inhibitions and fears about telephoning are increasing because the practice of using the technology of telephoning is lost," suspects Wampfler. Those affected should therefore break the vicious circle that can arise from a constant avoidance strategy.

Youtuber Stephanie Cao continues to make calls only when absolutely necessary. If possible in the morning immediately after getting up. "I'm still very relaxed there."

Stephanie Cao on Youtube

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