We're all a bunch of phubbers!

Posted on August 7, 2013 by Nicola Thomas

Phubbing infographic

Phubbing: the act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention.

My soon-to-be parents-in-law always joke that my fiancé can’t live without his phone, having it glued to his body and resorting to its wisdom when anyone asks a question that’s left unanswered. It’s all rather funny, until you actually stop for a minute and think about it.

Today I came across an article in The Independent that really made me stop and think about how the world (including myself) is obsessed with technology; by that, I mean phones and tablets. ‘Phubbing’ is the act of snubbing someone that you are meant to be socially interacting with, by looking at your phone, or taking a call instead of paying attention. I really think that its creator has an argument.

At what point did we choose to start looking at a device, as opposed to engaging in a conversation with a colleague, loved one, friend or animal (I’ve phubbed my dog a lot recently, and yes, I love chatting away to him as if he were human). Of course, there are certainly some situations that require a mobile device, such as an emergency, like you need an ambulance, you want to know how to convert metric to imperial, or you want to cheat at the pub quiz; you know, the really obvious examples.

Alex Haigh, a 23 year-old Melbourne resident has had enough of seeing what he says are ‘glazed faces in public places, text-tapping fingers during supposedly intimate dinners, and reunions that might as well have been held via Google hangouts given the screen time involved’. Haigh has set up www.stopphubbing.com in aid of his quest to eradicate phubbing from the world.

Granted, technology is a major part of everyone’s lives now, but there is a time and a place to whip your phone out. According to Haigh’s research (a YouGov poll), a third of people surveyed would answer their phone mid-conversation (rude!) and in the US, a Moment Feed / Instagram report found that over a three-week period, 2,365 photos were tagged to T.G.I. Friday restaurants. So apparently people are more interested in documenting their dining experience than enjoying it and the company they are with.

So why don’t we all put down our devices, and go back to basics; debate, chat, laugh, cry, even cuddle (I know, crazy). Or, if you’re still angry about being phubbed repeatedly, you can always send the perpetrator an intervention letter, all pre-prepared and accessible on Haigh’s website (I’ve already sent this to the husband-to-be).

Come on people, it’s getting ridiculous. Stop phubbing!!!


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