Cyber Mum – What is “PHUBBING” you ask?

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“Phubbing” (v) The act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention.

According to recent research, the act of “Phubbing”, or phone snubbing, is a very real epidemic and aside from being rude and inconsiderate, may also come with a few more insidious results, including serious negative impacts on our relationships.

Recent research published by Professor James Roberts of Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business in the journal “Computers in Human Behaviour” found that 46.3% of respondents said their partners “Phubbed” them and 22.6% said it was causing issues in their relationship.

It may seem inconsequential to look down at your phone every once in a while; however, the study results suggest that these few seconds start to weigh heavily on your partner’s mind, eventually contributing to an overall feeling of dissatisfaction, or perhaps inadequacy within the relationship. Not surprisingly, couples that reported higher partner “Phubbing” fought more and were less satisfied with their relationship than those who reported less “Phubbing”.

If you are curious as to whether you are guilty of “Phubbing”, you can try answering the following questions (however, I really think we already know the answer!)

On a scale from 1 (never) to 5 (all the time) answer these questions:

  • During a typical mealtime that my partner and I spend together, I pull out and check my mobile phone.
  • I place my mobile phone where I can see it when we are together.
  • I keep my mobile phone in my hand when I am with my partner.
  • When my mobile phone rings or beeps, I pull it out even if we are in the middle of a conversation.
  • I glance at my mobile phone when talking to my partner.
  • During leisure time that my partner and I spend together, I use my mobile phone.
  • I use my mobile phone when I am talking with my partner.
  • I use my mobile phone when my partner and I are out together.
  • If there is a lull in my partner’s and my conversation, I will check my mobile phone.

If you are concerned about your answers, you’re not alone! “Phubbing” has been labelled by etiquette advisors as “The End of Civilisation.” If you still don’t get it, think about these statistics:

  • An average restaurant will see 36 cases of “Phubbing” per dinner session; this is equal to spending 570 days alone, while in the company of others.
  • If “Phubbing” were a plague, it would decimate China six times.
  • 87% of teens would rather communicate via text than fact-to-face.

But don’t despair … I too am guilty of “Phubbing”, and I can clearly see that it is having a negative impact on my relationships with both my partner and my kids. So I’ve decided it’s time to make a stand and I am challenging us adults to revisit our habits and behaviours.  I’m challenging us to reclaim our life, to reconnect with our partners and our friends, but most importantly to stop endorsing “Phubbing” in front of our children, as their “Phubbing” is a learnt behaviour … Taught by us!  You never know; you might find you prefer a real smile rather than an emoticon!

For a bit of fun, check out www.stopphubbing.com and you can have your say and vote against “Phubbing” or find some other fun downloads like “Stop Phubbing” posters for your home or business.

Together, let’s beat this epidemic before it ruins more relationships

Caroline Bleechmore, Cyber Safety Advocate

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