There is nothing like new technology to spawn neologisms. Some of them are pretty good but some are downright ugly. In the latter category I would place one that I have been coming across recently: phubbing. This is a contraction of ‘phone snubbing’ and is used to describe the phenomenon of when one is ignoring the person one is with in order to communicate with the phone. I assume that there are extensions ‘to phub’, ‘be phubbed’, etc.
As if often the case with new phenomena, the negative implications for one’s romantic life are emphasized first.
My colleague Meredith David and I recently conducted a study that explored just how detrimental smartphones can be to relationships.
We zeroed in on measuring something called “phubbing” (a fusion of “phone” and “snubbing”). It’s how often your romantic partner is distracted by his or her smartphone in your presence. With more and more people using the attention-siphoning devices – the typical American checks his or her smartphone once every six-and-a-half minutes, or roughly 150 times each day – phubbing has emerged as a real source of conflict. For example, in one study, 70 percent of participants said that phubbing hurt their ability to interact with their romantic partners.
As an older guy, I am less wedded to my cell phone, using it only when I am away from my land line. It is usually tucked away in a drawer, taken out only when I go out or if I need some information stored in it. I was aware that people nowadays are on their phones a lot but checking it on average every six-and-a-half minutes surprised me. I am wondering if this is because cell phones are still in the novelty phase and over time, people will get fed up with its incessant intrusions into their life and begin to use it more judiciously.