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What is Phubbing and How Can it Affect Us?

Phubbing Consists of Ignoring Those in Front of us by Concentrating on the Use of Our Mobile Devices. There are Several Studies that Warn About the Negative Effects of This Type of Practice.

people using their cell phone

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LatinAmerican Post | Joshua Radesca

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Leer en español: ¿Qué es el Phubbing y cómo puede afectarnos?

Technological developments in recent decades have brought about a considerable change in the way we communicate and establish relationships. The advent of cell phones, easy access to the Internet and social networks have made it possible for almost any individual to interact in real time with people from all over the world. This way we stay in constant contact with figures with similar interests, friends, and family.

However, these same technological advances have given rise to a whole series of negative behaviors in users who make inappropriate and obsessive use of them. On more than one occasion, you will have heard it said that technology brings us closer to those who are distant, but distances us from those who are close. It is becoming more and more normal that at parties, meetings, or in moments shared with the couple, one of those present ignores those around them in favor of using the cell phone. This is known as phubbing and there are several studies that indicate that this type of action is not only rude, but also has a considerable impact on the quality of our relationships.

An article published in the journal "Health and Addiction" warns that "the dysfunctional use of such devices is associated with affective and psychosocial conflicts such as mood disorders, increased social isolation, and deterioration of close relationships." This same study states that it has been "proven that 87% of adolescents prefer to communicate through social networks or messaging applications than to have a face-to-face conversation."

Currently, in the field of psychology and psychiatry, there is talk of different addictions related to technology, such as addiction to the internet, social networks or mobile phones.

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Connect to the network and disconnect from reality

The expression phubbing arises from the combination of the English words phone (telephone) and snubbing (to snub). The term refers to the act of concentrating on mobile devices and not paying attention to the people with whom you are sharing face-to-face.

Studies are emerging that explain that this behavior can be motivated by the addictive capacity of mobile technology and social networks, which are designed so that users spend as much time as possible, offering them intermittent rewards through likes or notifications.

According to an article published in Píxel-Bi, a scientific magazine specializing in media and education, by 2011 the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom) indicated that "51% of adults and 65% of adolescents had ever used their mobile phone while socializing with others, 23% and 34% of adults and adolescents, respectively, used their smartphone during a meal with others, and 22% of adults and 47% of adolescents even said that they used it in the bathroom". This same study states that for "63% of adults it is more difficult to spend a day without their smart devices than a week without their partner".

For its part, research from the magazine Health and Addiction indicates that "constant use of mobile phones increases stress levels and induces compulsive behaviors, such as checking messages every minute and looking for information on any subject, turning the phenomenon of phubbing in a direct consequence of the problematic use of smartphones”

The aforementioned study also states that "the problematic use of the Internet is greater in those adolescents who present emotional instability, cognitive impulsivity and deficits in self-control and social skills". These being connected stop feeling alone. However, the excessive use of social networks in these conditions could cause a loss of the necessary skills to interact with others, thus developing a kind of relational illiteracy.

Beyond phubbing , there are currently a whole series of new conditions related to technology, such as "nomophobia" (no-mobile), which refers to the feeling of anxiety or nervousness due to not having a mobile or staying disconnected due to no signal or load. The amount of information we are exposed to on a daily basis has also spread the feeling of FOMO (fear of miss out) , which makes people feel like they are missing out on something important if they don't constantly check their cell phone or social media. social. Likewise, we can mention the "Imaginary call syndrome", or "Vibranxiety", in which users perceive the vibration of the phone when it really does not exist. “ Sleep texting” or writing text messages while you are asleep, is another condition that worries specialists.

How to avoid phubbing?

Being aware of the impact of new technologies in our lives, it is always good to keep in mind several basic recommendations to prevent those who accompany us and ourselves from incurring in nuisance. The first of these recommendations is to prioritize the present moment and the interaction with the person in front of you. At social events, it is a good idea to turn off mobile phone notifications. It has also been shown that having the phone in sight encourages its use, therefore it is advisable not to keep it on the table during meals. Another good idea is to be direct with the subject and establish rules with those you share in relation to the use of cell phones, especially in family spaces.

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