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June 12, 2017

"Phubbing," A New National Concern

Actually, despite the derogatory headline, this does annoy me and suggests to me that something big has changed in human living, and not for the better.

Do you spend more quality time with your phone than you do with your partner? Are you compulsively checking for notifications and endlessly scrolling through your social media feeds while in the presence of your significant other?

If this sounds like you, you may be one of millions of people experiencing what is a relatively new psychological condition known as ‘phubbing’ that, according to influential new research, may be slowly eroding your relationship with your partner.
Phone addiction is a ‘thing.' Seriously

Phubbing is a portmanteau of 'phone' and 'snubbing' and occurs when conversation is interrupted by attention being given to a smart phone rather than the person you're with. When it’s your loved one who bears the brunt of this compulsive action, it's called phubbing - partner phone snubbing.

It's a phenomenon directly resulting from the emergence of 'phone addiction' that, according to an extensive review of recent studies on the condition, is a problem tightly linked to unprecedented technological development over the past decade.
Unlike other forms of behavioural addiction such as gambling or gaming, in the same report it was noted that phone addiction seemingly affects young, extroverted women more than anyone else.

The story talks about how to create "phub-free" time (hint: Put the phone away), and offers this list of factors that may indicate you're a phubber:

-You have your phone out and close to you when you are with your partner, at all times

-You keep your conversations with your partner short because your attention is more focused on what is on your phone

-You break your attention from the conversation you are having with your partner to look at or respond to your phone

-You check your phone when there is a lull in the conversation

-If you are watching TV together, you look at your phone when there is an ad break
You take a call that is not urgent when you are having quality time with your partner.

There's a line in Maneater by the great Hall and Oates which they totally shred here that goes, speaking of the titular maneater of the song, "She's sitting with you, but her eyes on the door."

You know -- she's momentarily semi-present with you, but she's got her eyes peeled for something better.

Phone-addiction is like that but worse -- I can see someone having their eyes open for a More Interesting Person (or more sexually desirable one) in a pick-up bar, but it's really a slap in the face when the thing competing for attention is random nobody on social media, getting in some Sick Burn or something.

It's hard to take someone's keen interest in the phone over present company as saying anything other than, "These Randos' tweets, these miscellaneous emails that can easily be responded to when I'm alone, and this stupid news alerts from AP are far, far more important to me than anything coming out of your mouth or likely to come out of your mouth."

I've mentioned this anecdote before, but when I was at the Denver blog-con, local cellphone service went down (I suppose because 240 bloggers were putting so much strain on the system). Multiple people kept commenting on this, including One Idiot who lives on social media, prompting me to offer two observations:

1. Why the hell do you have to check your twitter feed now, Fool? Ninety percent of the people you "know" from twitter are present in this room. Are you just checking to see if anyone's tweeting that they've officially Noticed you?

2. Why don't we put the phones away and engage in ages-old human ritual called "Mouth-Tweeting"?

Eh, I'm not huge on human companionship -- I do just fine with long periods of social isolation -- but I do feel that when I've made the effort to venture out into the Living World, I'd sort of like if the people I was meeting out there in Real Life would do me the courtesy of fully joining me there, rather than "just checking in" on Twitter, breaking news feeds, and email every five minutes.

Especially since people I know have begun dying, I've begun to notice that there's a lot more to life than strings of electric graffiti running across computer or cell-phone screens. And that "presence" in life means more than physical presence -- it means consciously living in the real world with real people, on those rare occasions one ventures out of the cybercave.

As is said of other things, no one will lay in his death-bed regretting the #HotTakes and Twitter Burz he didn't get around to.


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posted by Ace at 07:10 PM

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