How Often Do You Phub?

Photo Source:  Abir Khan

Photo Source: Abir Khan

Phubbing. We’ve all been guilty of it at some point.

If you have a cell phone, you can’t tell me that you have *never* snubbed someone in favor of your phone. You may be doing it right now! Are you?

Here’s a test:

  • Do you ever carry on two conversations at once, one on your phone and one in person?

  • Do you immediately bring your phone out at dinner or other social settings?

  • Is it hard for you to get through a meal without looking at your phone?

  • Do you spend quality time with friends/kids/spouse and keep looking at your phone?

If you answered ‘YES’ to any of the above, you are a phubber.

Photo Source:  Stop Phubbing Twitter

Photo Source: Stop Phubbing Twitter

Here’s the thing, I am not sure that folks think phubbing is bad. This Stop Phubbing site has a poll where 62% of the folks who took it are not against phubbing (The sample size is 533 people and I have no clue what their demographics are). Unsurprisingly, the site also states that NYC has the highest phubbing rate in the world, followed by LA (There is no data on how they measured this, so take it for what it’s worth).

Yet there are myriad articles that discuss how phubbing negatively affects relationships and mental health (just Google it). This is important since the most important determinant of phubbing is phone addiction. Further, the author of Glow Kids likens phones and screen time to digital cocaine. Since this is a relatively new phenomenon it’s clearly important to address it with kids. I can’t imagine growing up with smartphones and social media . . .

Andres and I used to phub a ton. We then learned about phubbing and how it creates emotional distance between partners (read: no eye contact) and discussed it in depth. This caused us to become more intentional and mindful about using our phones around our friends and family. We learned that what we lost through phubbing (intimacy, attention to details) we gained from staying connected.

Our Rules Now Include:

  1. No phones at the dinner table,

  2. No phones while chilling together after baby sleeps or on date night,

  3. No phones while spending time with baby (since he mirrors us),

  4. No phones while at a restaurant.

But this is not a perfect science, we occasionally slip up. One of us will ask, “Are you phubbing?” and the other will answer, “Oh, yes, thanks for catching it” or “No, It’s my (dad/mom/sister/brother/BFF) and they need to know if we can (talk, come over, etc…)” We allow exceptions for (most) texts and calls from family and close friends.

So where do we go from here? I think the first step is acknowledging that phubbing is a thing and openly discussing it. I have definitely been out with friends and felt snubbed by their phone. Now, I can openly address it and ask, “Have you read my phubbing article?”.

What are your thoughts on phubbing?