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Selfies And Your Mental Health: The Downsides Of Phantom Vibration Syndrome, Especially In Kids

Clicking a selfie here and there will not harm you, but having the constant urge for instant gratification and validation can be detrimental to your mental health. The ill effects of continued use of social media and the subsequent dependence on mobile phones are common knowledge, yet, people are drawn to these objects of instant gratification.

Healthcare experts caution that selfies, short-form videos, and the constant desire to stay connected on digital platforms are causing several mental health issues, such as the phenomenon known as "phantom vibration syndrome" [1].

What Is Phantom Phone Syndrome?

In phantom vibration syndrome, one perceives the sound of vibrating or ringing when their mobile phone is not actually vibrating or ringing. This concept has also been referred to as ringxiety, fauxcellarm and phonetom. This condition was previously known as "ringxiety" before becoming known as phantom vibration syndrome [2].

The term, according to experts, is not a syndrome, but rather a sensory hallucination since the brain perceives a sensation that is not present. As a result of phantom vibration syndrome, where people believe their mobile phone is ringing or vibrating when it is not, Robert Rosenberger, PhD, warned about the modern phenomenon in 2016 [3].

It's gotten much attention recently with the increasing use of social media and mobile phones - especially by the younger generation. Mobile phones are causing hallucinations now, but in the 1990s, people reported "phantom pager syndrome."

How Does It Affect Your Well-Being?

Experts say that selfie phones and selfie sticks are not just convenient. Still, they are also the new symbols of self-absorption, adding that selfie fever will further isolate this generation and those to come.

Experts in the field of behaviour have classified selfies into three broad categories: selfies taken with friends, selfies taken during certain activities or events, and selfies that focus on the individual's physical appearance [4][5].

According to a study published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture, researchers have found that people who often post selfies are more likely to possess narcissistic traits like fragile self-esteem.

Experts are concerned about the nature and intensity of children's digital interfaces. It is not only about taking selfies or creating videos but also about why you create them.

Similarly, the more digital interfaces you have, the less likely you are to engage in physical activity, social engagement, academics, sports, and creativity.

How To Manage Phantom Vibration Syndrome?

To avoid this problem, parents should limit the amount of time their children spend on electronic gadgets. For example, you should not give young or newborn babies phones for playing games or watching videos, which can distract them. Parents can also prohibit children from using mobile phones late at night, which can sometimes cause insomnia in children [6].

According to experts, children must have a balanced life, engage in physical activity and sports, and make friends.

It is not clear what causes phantom vibrations. However, preliminary research suggests it may be related to excessive cell phone use. Experts have pointed out that our tendency to obsess about our phones is a part of human nature.

In the long run, this can negatively affect a person's mental and physical health.

Story first published: Thursday, November 17, 2022, 13:01 [IST]
Read more about: parenting kids selfie mental health
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