Have you ever felt your cell phone vibrate against your leg, reach into your pocket and realize your phone is not even there? Or perhaps you felt a vibration, pulled out your phone only to find no one was calling.
Rest assured, you’re not alone. It’s actually called “phantom vibration syndrome”.
Since 2007, there have been numerous university studies done to explain this phenomenon. Some attribute it to an obsession with keeping in touch with friends and family, while other studies attribute it to something similar to hallucinations. In other words, we’re so connected to our smartphones these days we can barely go a few minutes without checking it just in case someone “needs” us.
I say we’re addicted.
Psychologists have compared it to people who are addicted to drinking or smoking. When they see someone doing either of them on television or in the movies, they immediately want to grab a drink or a quick puff.
Cell phones have become so much a part of our daily lives it’s difficult to realize just how attached we are. I know I’m guilty. On several occasions I’ve interrupted, or ignored to some extent, a live conversation just to answer a text. What has the world come to?
Before you start pointing fingers, if you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you may be guilty, too.
Do you check you phone at every traffic light?
Do you pull out your phone in the middle of conversations with your friends just for a quick check?
Do you walk down the street checking your phone and almost walk into traffic?
Or better yet, are you on your phone at school or work even when you’re not supposed to be?
A few weeks ago I went to dinner with a group of photographer friends. We all placed our cell phones in the center of the table. The first one to pick up their phone, had to pay the bill. Luckily, I didn’t end up with the bill.
If we’ve gotten to the point where our legs vibrate, our fingers hurt from texting, or we use our phones so much the battery is dead by noon, it’s time to unplug and pull back from our “addiction.”
Perhaps this is the new norm in our society. Of course I grew up having to wait until after 10 p.m. on Sundays for the rates to drop so I could make a long distance phone call. Things have certainly changed in just a few short years. Having a cell phone in your hand is like the new “busy signal.” It signifys we’re too busy for those around us sometimes.
I’m clearly the wrong person to be deciding on any “technology rules.” I’m just thinking it’s time we put down the phones in meetings, at the dinner table, in the check out lines, and just enjoy those around us. After all, when the phone dies, our loved ones are begging for a good face-to-face conversation without interruption.
I’m just hoping I can take my own advice.