Tips&TricksPhubbing: the smartphone addiction disrupting our social lives and mental health

Phubbing: the smartphone addiction disrupting our social lives and mental health

This way with the phone should be alarming.
This way with the phone should be alarming.
Images source: © Freepik

6:34 PM EST, January 10, 2024

We often encounter people who focus on their phones rather than converse with others around them. This act, known as phubbing, is recognized by some as disrespectful, especially by older generations. Experts also highlight the negative implications of this behavior.

The phenomenon of phubbing has been a subject of interest among researchers for many years now. The term "phubbing" originated from the English words phone and snubbing, which aptly describe using a phone while socially engaged. There are two parties in the process: the phubber, the person engrossed in their phone, and the phubee, who ignored or 'snubbed' in favor of the device.

Why, though, do we often engage in this behavior? The answer lies in our subconscious addiction to smartphones, mainly social media. Psychiatrist Dr. Ryan Sultan suggests the neurotransmitter dopamine plays a part in generating feelings of reward and pleasure. These feelings are often triggered when we use our phones, making it easy to become hooked on the sensation.

Isolation during the pandemic in 2020 significantly fueled phubbing, with a heavy reliance on digital devices. However, investigations into this phenomenon predate recent events. The record of this term in academic literature dates back to 2012, highlighting societal interactions with phones in social settings.

Is our phone usage negatively impacting our lives?

According to medical professionals and researchers, the answer is yes. Constant phone usage can disrupt our ability to communicate effectively in the physical world, consequently affecting our ability to build stable, meaningful relationships. The mere presence of a phone during social interactions can detract from the joy of human connection and potentially contribute to mental health conditions like depression. Studies also show that phubbing can increase feelings of jealousy, loneliness, and stress, all of which can diminish one's quality of life.

Should your conversation partner be preoccupied with their phone, don't hesitate to address the issue. It may lead to an intense exchange, but your partner will likely put his phone down. After all, you deserve the full attention of the person you're meeting with.

On the other hand, if you're having trouble managing phone use during social interactions, it's essential to take action immediately. Scheduling specific device-free periods and turning off ringtones, notifications, and even vibrations during social encounters can help minimize distractions offered by your phone.

The phone can become a serious cause of mental illness.
The phone can become a serious cause of mental illness.© Freepik
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