‘Phubbing’ – Are We Guilty Of This?


Why do we do it?

Are we even aware we are phubbing?

How does the person or people being phubbed feel?

The newly-found term ‘phubbing’ was first coined in 2012. It describes the combination of the words ‘phone’ and ‘snubbing.’ It refers to an individual interacting more so with their electronic device more so than interacting with other human beings.

One might wonder, has ‘phubbing’ become a normal social behaviour? As we look around in many public spaces such as cafes, on the train or whilst waiting in the queue at a store, our phone snubbing behaviour is becoming more and more apparent.

We must consider whether or not we find it abnormal or unnatural to focus on the here and now. Is it fear of missing out (FOMO) on what others are doing elsewhere?

How many times have we been out socially and have been phubbed? How do we feel when this is happening? Are we okay with it or is it bad social behaviour?  Are we phubbed without knowing we are?

Can phubbing lead to depression?

Recent research and studies found 145 people surveyed, 37% of them felt depressed at least some of the time.

“The mobile phone behaviour is linked to depression and lower relationship satisfaction.

Researchers looked at the impact of snubbing your partner to look at your phone.

They dubbed this ‘phubbing’ (phone snubbing).

Dr James A. Roberts, the study’s first author, said:

“What we discovered was that when someone perceived that their partner phubbed them, this created conflict and led to lower levels of reported relationship satisfaction.

These lower levels of relationship satisfaction, in turn, led to lower levels of life satisfaction and, ultimately, higher levels of depression.”

Examples of phubbing include:

  • My partner places his or her mobile phone where they can see it when we are together.
  • My partner keeps his or her mobile phone in their hand when he or she is with me.
  • My partner glances at his/her mobile phone when talking to me.
  • If there is a lull in our conversation, my partner will check his or her mobile phone.

The survey, which included 145 people, found:

  • 46% had been ‘phubbed’ by their partner.
  • 23% said this phubbing caused conflict in their relationships.
  • 37% felt depressed at least some of the time.

Dr Meredith David, another of the study’s authors, said:

“In everyday interactions with significant others, people often assume that momentary distractions by their mobile phones are not a big deal.

However, our findings suggest that the more often a couple’s time spent together is interrupted by one individual attending to his/her mobile phone, the less likely it is that the other individual is satisfied in the overall relationship.

Specifically, momentary distractions by one’s mobile phone during time spent with a significant other likely lowers the significant other’s satisfaction with their relationship, and could lead to enhanced feelings of depression and lower well-being of that individual.

Thus, when spending time with one’s significant other, we encourage individuals to be cognizant of the interruptions caused by their mobile phones, as these may well be harmful to their relationship.”

Reference: Elsevier B.V.: Science Direct 2015, Computers in Human Behaviour, accessed 7th November 2016. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563215300704.


 Don’t live in silence, let’s talk.

There Is 1 Comment

  • profile avatar


    good article

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