‘There’s something in the way that we are now, with our cellphones, and people are not looking at each other and not being in the moment with each other, that kids feel isolated.’Lady Gaga
Too much of a good thing is bad. Our relationship with our cellphones – or smartphones – is a classic example of a good thing gone bad. What started as a tool to revolutionise the way we connect we each other, and consume information, has become a snare many of us are trapped in. Our smart phone addiction has given rise to a problematic behaviour – phubbing.
The word ‘phubbing’ is made of two words – ‘phone’ and ‘snubbing’. Phubbing is when we snub someone we are sitting with in person in favour of the phone. It’s become so common to do this – at parties, at dinners, on date nights, while hanging out with friends and family, and even on Zoom calls – that we almost don’t question it. According to one study of 267 participants, more than 17 percent reported that they hub someone more at least four times a day. Nearly 32 percent reported being phubbed at least twice a day. (Are you phubbing someone right now?)
Needless to say, phubbing harms our relationships. If you ignore someone to look at something on your phone – and if you do it regularly – they will eventually stop enjoying your company. But, phubbing hurts more than just your relationships.
Phubbing is bad for your body!
It may seem obvious, but research confirms this – phubbers tend to spend more hours on their phone than others. This means they spend more time sitting in a bad posture, looking down at their phone screen. Both bad posture and increased screen time have many adverse effects on one’s body, including poor quality sleep.
Phubbing is bad for the mental wellbeing of your loved ones
Being phubbed is not a pleasant experience. Being neglected can make one feel not good enough, lonely or anxious. It can lower the quality and depth of connection both in the short and long run. Partner phubbing can impact marital satisfaction and studies have shown that it leads to increased conflict. (Give us a thumbs up your hand if you’ve had a fight with your partner over phone usage)
Phubbing is bad for your mental health!
Phubbing may be a sign of Internet addiction. Too much consumption of content, especially on social media, can lower our level of satisfaction, make us feel anxious and ‘not good enough’. It can also lead to ‘nomophobia’ – the apprehension of being deprived of one’s smartphone, or #FOMO with regards to the phone.
Phubbing might make us feel connected to the online world. But it takes us away from the people in our lives, and our own physical and mental wellbeing!
I write. I read. I do yoga. I hula hoop. I love cats and dogs in equal measure. I'd say the same for wine. My zen motto: "Eat kale for the body, cake for the soul." Find me on IG: @prachigangwani87