Mental & Emotional Health

Phubbing: the Act of Ignoring People While Staring at Your Phone

It’s common now to see people snubbing social companions to concentrate on their smartphones. But what causes this behavior, known as “phubbing”, and how did it come to be regarded as normal?

Research by psychologists at the University of Kent in the UK suggests people’s internet addiction is leading them increasingly to “phub” – and experience being “phubbed” – in social situations. This, in turn, leads them to view this phubbing behavior as normal. The paper was published in June 2016 in in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

A release from the university notes that the research, by Varoth Chotpitayasunondh and Professor Karen Douglas from the University’s School of Psychology, identified a number of factors that were linked to smartphone addiction. These were Internet addiction, a fear of missing out and a lack of self-control.

This smartphone addiction, in turn, was directly linked to people demonstrating phubbing behavior. The researchers further found that it was this experience of phubbing – and of being phubbed themselves – that made people more likely to think that phubbing was “normal” behavior.

The research, thought to be the first to consider both the causes and consequences of this modern phenomenon, is likely to lead to further investigations of the impact of phubbing on the quality of social interaction.

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