This post is also available in Dutch.
Can you not help checking your WhatsApp chats during a dinner? Do you feel the urge to scroll through Instagram every ten minutes? Are you not able to resist running to your phone during awkward conversation gaps? If your answer is a univocal yes, you are likely a phubber. What this means is that you use your phone to the point of snubbing someone else.
Where do phubbers come from? And what is it like to phub?
Phubbers belong to a new and interesting species. Phubbers made their appearance along with the latest generation smartphones. Given that the number of smartphone users today surpasses 3 billion, phubbers are found among 49% of the population. Usually, we deal with quite outgoing people, often very social (at least judging their active state in social media). In terms of personality, phubbers show signs of emotional reactivity and lower consciousness. These traits combined make them a perfect victim of a real, worrisome addiction. – an addiction to their phone. Indeed, phubbers cannot stop looking at their phone, even when hanging out with their loved ones. And, as any addict, a phubber experiences anxiety when unable to reach out for his/her smartphone.
Although not strictly phubbers, we all engage in some phubbing at times. Often, we hardly realise it. But what are the effects of such a phubbing fever?
What is clear is that there is no specific time for phubbing. You can do this anytime. During a work meeting, when dining out, and while doing grocery shopping. The results? Less productivity at work, forgetfulness as in not having a clear idea of what your friend’s recipe was about, and purchases that do not match your shopping list (hopefully, you got the wine in).
Still, the major effect of phubbing concerns people’s relationships. Phubbing significantly reduces satisfaction within a couple. In fact, when a partner is being phubbed, he or she is likely to feel ignored. Over time, being phubbed can lead to lower self-esteem and depression.
Smartphones are an integral part of our lives. Even more today than before, when we are all dealing with the lockdown. But if phubbing is a consequence of smartphone use, how do we cope with that?
Generally, there is not a definitive way to go. For sure, we do not need to give up our phones. In the corona-days, this is still the fastest and safest way to connect with our social network. But we should definitely watch out when hanging out with our quarantine-partner or, likewise, with the one guest allowed in the house. Before checking your phone, it is worth asking yourself: do I really need to check the phone now? What if it was my partner who phubbed me during a conversation? Being aware of phubbing when using the phone can help keeping it away.
Foto van YashilG via Pixabay