Is there anything worse than trying to have a conversation with someone while the other person is engaged in scrolling through their phone? Probably not. I know I'm guilty of it, just as many of you are too. Now there's even more proof of those effects when it comes to our instant gratification from constant and endless scrolling.

Secretive Couple with Smart Phones in Their Hands
Credit: nicoletaionescu

What is Phubbing?

Phubbing is exactly what is described above. It refers to a person interacting with their phone rather than a human. Phubbing is the combination of two words; phone and snubbing. And it sucks! Seriously, no wonder our constant phone interactions with social media has cause a strain on our real, in-person relationships.

Teenage students ignoring each other while using their cell phones at school
Credit: Antonio_Diaz

A scientific study from Nigde Omer Halisdemir University found that couples who regularly "phub" each other have lower marriage satisfaction. Basically, when a person perceives that their romantic partner is phubbing more frequently, they feel additional conflict and less intimacy in their relationship. See the details from the scientific study below.

 Phubbing behavior, which we can be subjected to (phubbee) or the doer of (phubber), manifests itself as a behavior that is widely observed everywhere in today's technologically advanced societies and that almost everyone does it. Phubbing is a problematic behavior that can harm both the phubber and the phubbee. The phubbing tendency does not always describe harm from someone else. It may also result in the individual being harmed due to neglected responsibilities. Although the factors that lead to phubbing are listed as mobile phone addiction, internet addiction, social media addiction, mobile game addiction, depression, and nomophobia, the frequency of phubbing is affected by the attitude of individuals. It seems that phubbing behavior cannot be evaluated independently of the attitudes and behaviors that we have... From the point of view of phubbing behavior, individuals may have some expectations such as making eye contact, resting effectively and receiving feedback during mutual communication. On the contrary, as a result of dealing with the phone instead of the person in front of him/her, the individual who experiences a violation of expectations experiences negative emotions. Therefore, phubbing creates arousal in interaction partners by drawing attention from social interaction to activities on the phone. In addition, phubbers are described as rude and negligent. As a result of these negative effects, phubbing can negatively affect bilateral relations and reduce perceived communication quality and relationship satisfaction Because couples feel connected when they are with each other. Factors that eliminate or ignore this bond can cause serious damage to the relationship. Although cell phones and other technological devices serve as productive tools in people's lives, researchers investigating the effects of phubbing agree that interruptions from these devices can cause problems in romantic relationships. As a result, phubbing leads to conflict in romantic relationships because individuals are ignored by the people they care about, which leads to lower relationship satisfaction. When individuals perceive that their romantic partners phubbing more frequently, they feel more conflict and less intimacy in the relationship. Therefore, phubbing behavior negatively affects marital satisfaction.

Did we really need another reason to take a break from our phones? Camping without a signal, along with my significant other, may have been one of my best experiences of the year, and possibly the past few years. With no distractions, it is much easier to enjoy time spent with people you actually care about; and who care about you.

Credit: Deagreez
Credit: Deagreez

Let's be honest, the latest Tik-Tok, Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube videos really don't matter. Sure, they are a great way to start conversations with others, but once the screen dominates your relationship; that relationship is doomed. In addition, the study found that people who regularly snub their friends to look at their phones are more likely to be socially anxious and depressed. Unfortunately, our phone use also lends a hand to our poor in-person relationships. One study shows how quickly in 5 minutes of notification, each one of these generations are to take a peek at their phone:

  • Gen Z: 80.41%
  • Gen X: 75.68%
  • Boomers: 74.47%
  • Millennials: 73.40%

In fact, the average American is on their phone for 2 hours and 54 minutes a day and will spend about 44 days a year on their phone. Generationally (younger means more use) you're looking at an average closer to 5 hours a day spent with "constant or consistent" mobile use. In Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin, those numbers hold fairly steady, with dips in use based on age and tech usage.

Parents with cell phones and strollers
Credit: Jupiterimages

So, are you a "Phubber"?

Ask yourself these questions and statements and think about where you fall:

  • You always have your phone out when you're with your partner
  • Most of your conversations with your partner are kept short because you're often on your phone
  • You frequently stop paying attention to what your partner is saying when your phone buzzes
  • You fill gaps in conversation by checking your phone
  • When you're watching TV together, you go on your phone in the ad break
  • You take calls that aren't urgent when you're spending time with your partner
Young Couple Having Problems with Their Smart Phones
Credit: nicoletaionescu

Put down the phone and have a real conversation. Your relationships will thank you.

I'd rather use my phone as a camera anyway. See for yourself, and have an adventure like the ones below!


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