A recent study by CyberPsychology and Behaviour Journal concluded that ‘WhatsApp’, the famous texting application has been responsible for over 28 million breakups. It is apparently due to the known “syndrome of double check”, which is often mistaken by millions of users as the ‘double check’ means that the receiver has read the text message; as was the situation when BBM was newly launched! However, the company clarified that the double check doesn’t mean that!
What exactly happens in this “Last Seen Online” Syndrome? How dangerous is it? Is it dangerous at all?
Etiology: The Last Seen Online Syndrome most commonly affects the teenagers and young adults. The average age group using this application lie between 8 yrs to 40 yrs. Wide range of use globally. More frequently seen in Europe, western part of Asia, parts of the American continent. Affects females more than males. (Thanks to the over thinking behaviour in the former and the lack of thinking in the latter). Mainly associated with free /low cost internet plans. Commonly associated with either one or more of: joblessness, boredom, inability to go out and socialise, lack of self confidence, loneliness and narcissism.
Caused by: 1. Insecurity– You’re always almost sure that he/she is not ONLY talking to you. Even if they’re only talking to their friends, you think that they’re lying.
2. Low levels of self esteem– You begin to think that you’re not worthy enough of him/her which is why even after saying ‘Bye’ to you, they’re still seen ‘Online’.
3. Mistrust– You’ve been using so much time on your phone that you haven’t been giving much time talking or comforting your partner. Which is what makes them feel the above.
He/She is probably REALLY not interested in you.
KNOW THIS FOR LIFE, FOR EVERYTHING:
Signs and Symptoms:
1. Anxiety: You keep checking that person’s ‘Last Seen Online’ at and constantly get affected. Either you’re happy to see him/her or you’re really angry at first and then upset.
2. Worrying: You start worrying invariably of the cause. Leading to increased heart rate and formation of vertical lines between your eyebrows(wrinkling). Lasting more than 3 hours a day for at least a period of 5 days.
3. Pain in your elbows and fingers: Thanks to constant typing and folded elbows that they’re now paining. You try keeping your hands straight from the elbow for long since it relieves the pain but give up 3 minutes into it because you just received a new message. It is now leading to carpal tunnel syndrome, unnecessarily. Lasting more than 4-5 times a week for at least a period of 5 days.
4. Lack of interest in surroundings: You aren’t talking on the dinner table, nor are you reading the newspaper while having breakfast. You aren’t having your eyes fixed to the TV while watching your fav tv show, you aren’t interested in getting up from the bed/chair/fav spot! You’re practically turning a deaf ear to anything anybody around you says. At the max, you’re replying with “ahan..hmm……… hmmmm……. yyeaaa….. okay…………………..hm………..GET LOST MAN!” (losing it by the end of the conversation the person in front of you is trying to have!) Lasting for 3 or more days per week.
5. Check-mate: You’re constantly checking; and checking again! You begin to type, you stop, you delete, you shut the application. You again open it, check the ‘last seen at’, close it. You open it AGAIN, type a casual expression and then wait forever for the person to reply! Lasting for 3-5 consequent days.
6. Type night: You’re experiencing a reversal in your sleep cycle. You’re now sleeping for 4 hours or less since most of your time goes in spying over whatsapp. And while you’re spying aimlessly, you decide to talk to your fellow *friends* who are suffering from the same disease as you. So you’re typing while your preparing for bed, brushing your teeth, sitting on your bed, lying down, turning sides, amidst your phone calls while using *handsfree* etc etc. Lasting for 3-5 consequent nights.
Diagnosis: The above symptoms are based on the ‘Last Seen Online Diagnostic Criteria’ .Prevalence of 2 or more than 2 of the above symptoms for a brief period of one week suggests that you’re suffering from LSO Syndrome. It can be further confirmed by checking your mobile phone’s appearance as:
1. Accessibility of whatsapp on the smart phone. (Usually, on the preference list or the first page)
2. Frequency of display picture/status changes. (More than once per day)
3. Frequency of broadcasts/ forwards. (More than once per day)
4. Checking the fingermarks on the touchscreen. Vowels and SEND would be the most commonly smudged areas.
If you’re suffering from this even borderline, you can always UNDO this DISEASE unlike most other. Don’t wait till this transforms as Borderline Personality Disorder OR Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OR Carpel Tunnel Syndrome OR Depression OR Hypertension and like.
2. Focus on the work in hand and avoid distractions.
3. Use Whatsapp limitedly. CyberPsychology and Behaviour Journal recognise that this application is “very favourable” in the first phase of a relationship, but eventually begin to reveal their negative effects , accompanied by the increase of jealousy and control.
Treatment: Prevention is the key. If you’ve decided you want to STOP this from progressing further and letting it affect you, here’s what would help:
1. Communicate face to face. Confront the person. Talk/shout/cry/laugh/hug/slap. Show your emotion for real. The real deal matters. Not what you type and emote over virtualities.
2. Indulge in activities and things you used to like before this happened. Like cricket, teasing your friend, gardening, reading a book, creating music, sketching, cooking, etc. Spare some time for yourself and the world you’re connected with. Enjoy what’s around you. It may not be there for long!
3. Utilize your energy for more productive and constructive work. A little help, unasked for, is always welcome and thanked.
4. Consciously make a mental note that you wouldn’t check your phone more than once when you’re with other people. It is a very annoying and impolite gesture to stay hooked to your phone when at a social gathering or simple hanging out time with your friends. Also shows disrespect and disregard.
5. Value and respect what you have. It doesn’t mean that you have to shut whatsapp completely off your life. But take time to unwind and relax.
And if you’ve progressed to any of the ailments mentioned above, please seek immediate help from your doctor. You may otherwise, lose your hands or your mind forever.
P.S. This is just to give you a wake up call. I’m no one to STOP you from doing anything because I never asked you to START it in the first place.