By Polina Palieraki,
The term Phubbing comes from the combination of the words phone and snubbing and refers to the now common behavior of people to ignore their interlocutor in order to deal with their mobile phone. Often the person receiving phubbing also turns to their cell phone and thus, hinders real-life communication even more. There are several reasons why someone might ignore the other person by turning to their cell phone. Recent quantitative research conducted in Athens and Thessaloniki among men and women aged 18-44, active smartphone users, shed some light on how phubbing occurs. In the habit of phubbing, it is possible to arise in the context of a conversation we may have with our interlocutor, and suddenly, due to a notification on our mobile phone, we turn exclusively to our emails, our messages, we scroll through Instagram, Facebook, etc. completely ignoring the person next to us.
Let’s start with the fact that according to the same research, the daily average time of mobile use is 4.8 hours, with only 39% of the public aware of this. Additionally, most of the public surveyed, 87%, say they have a co-dependent relationship with it. When asked to recall their behavior in the context of company and family, almost 80% said that they engage in cell phone use when they are with company or family, but do not consider it annoying or important. On the contrary, when the audience as observers was asked to recall the corresponding behavior of other people of the same age in the context of the company and family, they stated that this happens to a greater extent, a percentage reaching 97%, even characterizing this behavior as annoying. And as a conclusion, we would be able to say that this behavior is easily noticed by those around us and often causes them discomfort. But when it comes to us, distraction from the mobile phone is not always noticed, nor do we attribute responsibility to ourselves.
While mobile phones are designed to promote communication they can actually, if used excessively, hinder it in its true dimension and affect human relationships. So, in the context of the company or the family, and while there could potentially be substantial communication, people are simultaneously looking for communication through their mobile phone. Thus, it causes a distraction from the physical presence of people. In this way, people engage some of their senses on their mobile phones, such as e.g. sight and hearing, and thus, do not perceive the facial expressions of their interlocutor. Τhus, empathy disappears and humans might as well be likened to biological machines themselves.
Taking everything into consideration, we can admit that phubbing is the reality of our time. It is a new condition that if we want to limit its effects on ourselves and those we care about we must first recognize and understand it. The goal is not to be mobile-free at all but to be able to enjoy our human relationships not through the screen, but in real life.
- What the heck is phubbing and how does it affect your family. Stoufferlegal. Available here
- Το φαινόμενο phubbing. CSI institute. Available here
- Είναι το phubbing η νέα κανονικότητα στις κοινωνικές σχέσεις; kathimerini Available here