You swear you felt it, that buzzing sensation in your pocket indicating your phone has gone off. Somebody out there needs you and you must respond. You go to reach for your phone and realize it’s not there, so what did you just feel? This phenomenon is known as Phantom Vibration Syndrome and its prevalence has increased as constant mobile connectivity has become the norm.
Because we are so in touch with our cellphones these days and rely on them for almost everything there is a new fear developing in many of the younger generation that we’re going to miss a text or an important message and so people are feeling they are not being responsive enough to others to a point where we sometimes hear or feel our phones when they are actually silent. It’s almost like a hallucination.
In a new study just released, nine out of ten younger millennials (ages 18 to 24) check their phones at least once an hour, if not constantly. The study also indicates that social media and incoming messages are a source of excitement and positive rewards and so it can become a bit of an obsession for people, to a point where they think they hear or feel their phone when they are misinterpreting it for slight muscle spasms.
Phantom vibration syndrome isn’t really harmful but it seems to be a warning sign that relying too much on technology may be hazardous to human interaction. The study I mentioned earlier says it is a product of our attachment to our devices mainly affecting people at the beck and call of mobile phones or pagers. It only becomes a serious problem when it keeps us from engaging with other people in the here and now.
Some tips to prevent PVS include:
- The first thing you want to do is set boundaries. You want to set times in the day when you put your phone away and try to avoid using it.
- Next you want to try and be more active. You want to take up hobbies and activities that will engage your mind and body but don’t require you to have your phone on you.
- Also, ask your friends for help. If you’re trying to reduce your cell phone use it can be difficult when people are always trying to get in touch with you. Don’t be afraid to tell your loved ones that you plan to take time off from your phone every day and that you won’t be available during that time period.
- Finally, let yourself sleep. Do not bring your cell phone any where close to your bedroom since being well rested is crucial to your mental well being. Having your phone in your room can not only disrupt your sleep, but having it within reach will tempt you to use it when you’re supposed to be focusing on your R&R.
TECH + knowledge + Y – What is phantom vibration syndrome?