What it’s really called…

One was at a meeting that had a priest in attendance, recently. What caught my attention is that ninety percent of the ‘the meeting duration’ saw the man fiddling with his mobile phone. I wondered why he agreed to a meeting that he had difficulty concentrating on. I also bemoaned the fate of ‘courtesy’ in the hands of most people. Couldn’t he afford to keep down that phone until the meeting was over? It’s understandable if he has to interrupt the meeting to take an important phone call.

I figured that whatever I had just witnessed is one of the downsides of the mobile phone era…that is, when that phone just never leaves our hands.

I also remembered what a doctor friend that just called off her engagement (to a long time fiancé) told me. In her words…’’I miss the old us. His phone has taken over what used to be our time together. These days…his ‘off work’ hours are observed on his phone and I am left to my own company. Worst is-his attention is on the phone screen-as you make efforts to start a conversation with him. You find him laughing out loud-when you have not said anything funny. I can’t deal any more’’.

One is reminded again of an article that I came across recently, in which a new word was said to have been added to the lexicon of the English language…thanks to our new age phone habit and how it impacts on relationships.

The said word is ‘phubbing’ (a combination of the words- ‘phone and snubbing’) and it refers to how someone in a relationship ignores or snubs his/her partner-while heaping all the attention on a mobile phone.

I used to have the erroneous belief that men are guiltier of phubbing but countless researches have actually claimed that women are more addicted to their devices.

Here is how a friend once put it: “ Ironically, same women are more likely to complain about the other partner’s connection to his device. This is funny but true.

I think men prefer not to complain about such things especially to a third party and also because by nature they can often cope with less attention. So you find women who are addicted to blogs, selfies, games, instagram, BBM, snap chat, Facebook, Whatsapp etc yet complaining more. If it’s football I would have agreed that men are more guilty, but not of the use of phones, other devices and Telemundo.

I think what you should advice women is to always look inwards before seeking to complain about the man. A good number of men who do this probably resorted to their device because the woman in their life was already too addicted to give them the needed attention. Rather than complain they equally take the same route. Most times if she reduces her own attention to her device she’s more likely to get increased attention from her man.’’

Some researchers claim that an average phone user (in some climes) checks his/her phone every six to 10 minutes. And that translates to “looking at your phone” about 140 times in a day. I can’t even imagine how many hours that gulps in a week, a month, a year and even a life time…that’s chunked off by our phone habit.

One kind of wonders what time such persons have to get something else done in a day.It’s understandable if one’s phone habit is tied to a source of livelihood but my fear remains that a lot of people do not just know where to draw the lines…when it comes to relationships and phone habits.

Not a few people have shared their experiences of going on a date with a potential love interest –only for ‘phone fiddling’ to be the order of the day…where efforts at getting to know each other well should have been initiated.

In fact, a friend said that on one of such dates with a man that she was just getting to know…it took a waiter tapping on the table for them to realise that their food was ready…because they were both busy with their devices. And those are people who were supposedly on a date.

Researchers have said that next to money and sex problems, smart phones (phubbing!) are relationship downers. As those whose partners ‘phub’ reported increasing conflict (and decreased intimacy) in their relationships.
Other ‘downer effects’ of smart phones, according to research, in our lives, are as follows:
. Some people even use cell phones while having sex.
. Phone use, right before falling asleep has increased drastically, which is not good since the habit can affect sleep patterns.
. Many car accidents happen as a result of people using their cell phones while driving. Cell phones are highly distracting, especially when people are addicted to them, and once the attention is towards them instead of the road, there is a huge probability that this diversion of attention will lead to an accident, even a fatal one. This is not only problematic for the one who is driving but also for other people who are involved.

. Most people rely on their cell phones to the extent that it helps them feel normal and remain away from panic. This is considered to be a disability and people who suffer from such an extreme form of addiction should seek help immediately. They would normally not be able to live without their cell phones and would suffer from extreme panic in case they ever lost their phones.

. An addiction expert has stated that the more connected an individual is with the help of technology, the more likely they will experience a hassle connecting in real life. Experts have also stated that smartphone withdrawal can result in symptoms such as depression, insomnia, and anxiety.

. Phone addiction can be a major hindrance in the social life of a person. This is because it causes a person to have all their attention on their phones and give very little attention to the actual events happening around them. When people are addicted to their cell phones, they will pay very little attention to the actual life that is happening around them and will give their undivided attention to their cell phone. Some people are not aware that they are addicted to their smartphones, either because they do not pay attention to the warning signs or because they are not aware of such signs at all.

Except you are at the receiving end of ‘phubbing’…you may consider this issue as a ‘no big deal’ but you had be surprised how much such irritant behaviours can undermine the quality of a relationship, especially when one is involved with a sensitive partner.

Even without being told, there is what’s called ‘common sense’. And that should teach us that:
. It is not polite to be fiddling with your phone when your partner needs your attention.
. It does not speak well of you to not be able to tear yourself away from your phone when others are talking to you.
. If you can’t keep your phone aside to enjoy a dinner/lunch date for a few hours…you probably shouldn’t be dating.
. Addiction comes in various degrees and one who can’t keep a device away for more than a few minutes is obviously dealing with one.
. Sometimes, you need to pay attention to the real world around you…that phone can wait!

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1 Comment
  • Chris Eade

    I might be biased because we made it, but to see if you are addicted try our AntiSocial App on Google Play. Compare your phone use with others and see what your favorite apps are, how often you unlock you phone and much more. Even block access to apps you use too much. Our website is