I’m curious to see how people feel about “Phubbing”, as i am definitely guilty of it and most likely a victim of it too. I recently realised that it has become a worldwide epidemic and that is extremely worrying. I suppose you could call it denial but it wasn’t until i read the actual word for this unmannerly and altogether ignorant habit that i noticed I’m guilty of it.
“Phubbing” is the term for snubbing, but with your phone! Now you are probably wondering if you are also guilty of this rude and alienating phenomenon and thinking, nah! Im not like that at all, not me! But deep down, you know you probably actually are. Admit it, there have been times when you have took out your phone in the company of friends or family and just drifted off from the conversation or got distracted by whatever presents itself on your mobile. Lets face it, we’ve all been there at some time or another.
For me, I’m one of the worst culprits. I never really noticed how bad it had got until i first read the word ‘phubbing’ and i was forced to realise the scary thought that i am in fact a “phubber”. Hands up i admit i am definitely guilty of this crime. In fact, I’m always at it! The more i thought of it, the more I began to think of myself as becoming increasingly rude amongst the people i hold dear to me. Friends, family, my boyfriend, my babies, heck, just about everyone i know has been a victim of my phubbing.
I started to wonder how i had got this far and what drove me to become obsessed with my phone. The only way i can properly describe my addiction to my phone is an actual ‘obsession’. I was brought up with manners and always taught that it was rude not to give someone your full attention when in their presence. I myself, always made sure that whoever i had in my company, had my full undivided attention, at all times. I never overstepped the boundaries and always adhered to being fully present so as to be as polite and nice as possible. After all, you should treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself, right?
Back in those days, we didn’t even have mobile phones so it was rare to have many distractions, other than ones that couldn’t be avoided, and always included the other person or people in your company. Unavoidable distractions or interruptions were always understood by the others and therefore, never considered rude. In fact, i remember when mobile phones first arrived on the scene. Im really showing my age now haha. All the ‘yuppies’ (fashionable well-to-do rich youngsters who were obsessed with material goods and money) had them. And when i say youngster i mean show-offs! Anyone who had one of those hilarious brick phones thought they were Gods gift. Little did they know, everyone just thought they were a yuppie and in those days yuppies were gits! Yeah no-one liked a rich kid and showing off was just lame since everyone was broke back then, lol!
You would see them driving around in their flash cars with one hand on the steering wheel and one hand always attached to a brick phone. They thought they were the bees knees in cats pyjamas. A bit like Bros and their ripped jeans in the Eighties. Actually ripped jeans have made a comeback so who knows, brick mobile phones might too! I doubt it, but however, driving using a mobile is obviously illegal and basically stupid so that will never be cool. Getting back to my original story, sorry i ran a bit wild with that last paragraph with memories of the eighties there. It went all shoulder pads and leg warmers there for a minute! The point is, it was always considered rude to have your mobile phone (if you were yuppie enough to own one) turned on at all, in the company of others.
Fast forward to the Ninetie’s and mobile phones got cheaper, more affordable for the average Joe and more phone companies got into competition with each other, soon everyone had one! All of a sudden, our days of scrounging for change for the phonebox and searching the telephone directory were gone. No more calling someones house phone for an hour long chat in the freezing cold hallway or having to wait for the operator to put you through. Ok, now i feel ancient!!
Soon, phonebooths would no longer be seen in the streets and everyone would be immediately available and just a phonecall away. I’m guessing letters would soon become a thing of the past aswell, once texting was discovered. Texting didn’t come as soon as mobile phones were introduced. All the numbers had letters on them and this was a mystery. Texting was only in the development stages back then. Oh yes!! Now i sound like I’m from the Stone Age, nice one heeheee!
A few years later, texting arrived and we became really texty! Yeah the novelty was fantastic, it was much more fun. Have a rant or send a joke, make a date without the embarrassment of face to face rejection, bahaha, we were obsessed. I personally loved texting as you could have time to devise a clever or even more hilarious reply in your own time. No on the spot confrontations, just laid back, easy chat.
Being a self-confessed introvert, i way preferred texting, but apart from anything else, it was cheaper than a phonecall so everyone was at it. I think, sadly, even though we didn’t know it at the time, it would make communication less personal and not as intimate. Unfortunately, thats just the way technology has taken over, but on the other hand, it opened up so many amazing possibilities and opened so many more lines of communication. Especially in the business and dating world.
For instance, years ago, you would never give a stranger your phone number. Imagine if it turned out to be some stalker freak who rang your house twenty times a day?! Nowadays, you can choose to ignore a message or block calls. A business can have a phone that only operates 9-5 and no middle of the night annoying wake-up calls. It all boils down to having an opportunity to broaden your horizons. People really embraced that. It was new and fun so it completely took off!
Righto, getting back to the serious business of “phubbing”. Phone snubbing has become completely commonplace in todays world and it is quite worrying to think of. The problem is, that nowadays your phone is no longer just a device for making calls and texting, but smart phones have introduced computers to your small screen. Basically your phone is now your computer, calendar, reviewer, communicator and practically your life, in one tiny, easy to carry, pocket gadget. Its no wonder people are always staring into the screen at any given chance. There are so many interesting things to distract you. Social media is one of my obsessions. I probably only realised that recently as i have been trying to put my phone down and give it a rest sometimes. This has been proving extremely difficult and i began to realise i may have problem!
There are a lot of open lines of communication coming at me through my phone all day. I really enjoy connecting with others and learning new things. The irony of it all, is that when I’m around people, i find myself glancing at my phone or sneaking a look at my social media. There is always something going on, like notifications. Someone liked my blog or someone commented on my status. Its a real boost when you get a like on Facebook or Instagram or a share on Pinterest or Twitter for instance. Therefore, it becomes a little addiction, like a drug, almost. Its a pick-me-up so theres nothing wrong with it. In fact, when I’m on my own, its a brilliant sense of communication with the outside world and i love being a part of something outside my normal life.
The problem only arises when you begin choosing your phone over whoever you are supposed to be present with, be it your family, friends or whoever you are lucky enough to have in your company. How must it look, to those who consider your presence as important, for you to be constantly glued to your mobile or frequently checking your latest updates? When you really think about it, you start to feel ashamed! I certainly did anyway. Its basically the height of rudeness. You may not even notice it, it could have become a habit, like in my case. But when you start watching yourself and taking it all into account, its so incredibly ignorant! There have been too many missed moments with my kids and my family. Too many fun times missed with friends when i missed the joke or didn’t hear the story properly. I have now decided i need to get my act together. You will never remember the times your phone told you interesting news or alerted you to the most recent gossip. You will only regret missing the real memories spent with your loved ones. Its time to put the phones away and be truly present in the moment.
You are never going to look back on your life and say, yeah i remember that day with my phone, it was so memorable! At least i doubt it anyway. Otherwise you have crossed over to the dark side of denial and will possibly never recover haha! I reckon it takes a bit of time and a lot of self discipline to pry yourself away from that phone, I completely relate to that as i just glanced at my own phone there out of habit.
I have decided to put my phone away for at least an hour a day and not go near it. That is a baby step to overcoming my obsession/addiction on a daily basis. During that time i won’t look at my computer either which is going to be hard to manage but i think its important, in order to give my full undivided attention to my babies. I have a two and a half year old and a three month old so its only right. Most of the time even when I’m playing with them, my phone is at my side and I’m glancing regularly. If i put the phone away completely then i will enjoy and appreciate the quality time way more.
I decided when we have dinner, phones will be out of reach so that we can have proper meaningful conversation without the distraction. Often we check our phones and end up engrossed in whatever is happening online or in the media and we drift off. We’re just not being present and involved with each other with those kinds of outside distractions.
We even gave our toddler an old iPhone since she was always asking to play the games on it. She probably wanted to know why Mum and Dad were always playing with our phones, if I’m honest. I noticed when she wasn’t allowed to play with the phone, she became stroppy and moody. Then i decided to stop her from using it as much. When i restricted the phone use, she would throw tantrums, as though she were having withdrawal symptoms. I did some reading online and found out that indeed, young children shouldn’t be given smart phones since its over-stimulating and when they don’t have access, they become bored and agitated. I started to wonder if its the same in adults. I began thinking back to when i had my old Nokia phone with no computer.
I had held off buying a smart phone for years even though almost everyone i know had one. I didn’t really see the point, since i had a perfectly good laptop at home to do whatever computer stuff i needed. In hindsight, i probably didn’t want to become one of those dreaded ‘phubbers’! The ones who go out for dinner with their partner or friends and sit moping over their phone all night. I never understood the logic. I mean why go out at all? Yet here i am and i am a self confessed phubber. Guilty as charged.
When i met my partner, the father of my children, he had the latest iPhone and he was always on it. Looking up all kinds of interesting things, asking Siri silly questions and just playing with new apps all the time. I still had my bog standard ancient Nokia and it was about time i moved up in the world. I purchased my very first smart phone within a few weeks. I got an iPhone as it seemed the best option. Not the latest model since i couldn’t possibly understand why someone would pay two weeks wages for a phone, but a recent one. Soon i realised how much more fun it was to have a computer at your disposal and i was never bored after that! It was great for logging on when bored, waiting for someone or just to pass the time. Thats where it all started!
I noticed that half the time we were too engrossed in our phones to even notice what was going on around us. We would be watching a movie and i would look up and ask what was happening after missing half an hour, then he would be the same! We would start a great conversation and then after a while one of us would look at our phone, the other would do the same and all of a sudden we had been stuck to the phone for half an hour. This became regular occurrence and to be honest, it still happens to this day!
I have noticed others do it too, friends and relatives. Its like a strange hypnosis that sucks you in. I was kind of embarrassed once when my mum was here on holiday. All three of us, myself, my partner and my two year old were on our phones, sitting in a row on the couch. My mum should have had our full attention but obviously not this time. She remarked that we were the ‘iPhone family’! I nearly died of the embarrassing realisation that she actually had a point!!! I laughed it off as i was still in denial.
Now i have decided that its a new chapter in my life and i want to have less interaction with my phone and way more interaction with the people who matter. They deserve my attention and i need to show them i love them so much more than my stupid phone. Im rebelling against my phone and i will win this battle!!
I’ll keep you posted as to how it goes but I’m seriously motivated that i will beat this phone addiction and become a better and less technology/media obsessed, grounded and humble person. I’d love to know how others feel about this and if it affects you as it does me. Please do comment on your own experience in the comments section as i would love to learn more. I know I’m not the only one with this problem and i genuinely believe it is an addiction like any other. Overcoming denial is the first step to recovery.
Are you a phubber or a victim of phubbing??
You are not alone.