At the same time you scroll social networks and talk to a friend, right? If so, you must know what phubbing is and why it is dangerous.

‘Phubbing’ is a psychological term, which means the habit of constantly being distracted by the phone during a live conversation. The term ‘phubbing’ consists of two English words: ‘phone’ – telephone and ‘snubbing’ – contempt.

In 2015 a research was conducted in the United States, and it turned out that 46.3% of people said that their partners favored them. Another study later found that couples with phubbing had worse relationships and more frequent quarrels and misunderstandings.

‘Phubbing’ as a separate scientific term was coined in May 2012 at the University of Sydney in Australia. Then the advertising agency McCann organized a meeting of literary critics, writers and poets to name a new phenomenon when a person is distracted by a smartphone while communicating. McCann later released ‘A Word is Born,’ a new word – ‘phubbing.’

Why do people phubble?

Psychologists call this the feedback loop on the Internet. Interestingly, people use the same reward system in their brains as love or friendship. That’s why people spend time on smartphones and the Internet, and at the same time justify themselves – multitasking. We convince ourselves that we can be effective in several places at the same time thanks to online. But this is not the case.

Phubbing it’s like a constant switching back and forth, which takes a lot of energy and time and distorts the sense of value of real contact with friends.

Researchers have found that people are unable to do several things at once. For example, during a conversation, we look at our phones. In this state, we can hear an interlocutor’s words, but we cannot process words and nonverbal cues as fast as they should. The human brain cannot focus on something while doing something else, says neuroscientist Earl Miller.

It’s like a constant switch back and forth, which takes a lot of energy and time and distorts the sense of value of real contacts with friends. When we sit on the digital circuit, we are not fully present in either virtual or real life, says MIT teacher Dr. Sherry Turkle. In addition, people notice it and therefore do not open up to us. This reduces the level of empathy and connections between interlocutors. There is a study that found that the level of empathy in students of higher education institutions from 1979 to 2009 decreased by 40%. And this is the biggest drop since 2000.

Psychotherapist Timur Gonchar claims that the virtual technology has long been a part of modern life. Virtually all work and leisure activities are associated with virtuality. The constraints caused by the pandemic have shifted the balance sharply towards virtuality, so we have to adapt to these changes.

We have to combine online and offline processes to be effective, not to fall out of work and social processes. The pace and requirements of modern society force us to be almost constantly in the online space. This creates tension, which can also manifest itself in the form of phubbing.

Our psyche processes huge amounts of information, but, at the same time, to be fully in several processes we will not succeed. This is due to the function of attention, the arbitrary switching of mental activity to what we consider important. So the rest becomes secondary, and in other processes we can be present only superficially.

Therefore, a person who is constantly distracted in a conversation on a smartphone, automatically becomes inattentive to the interlocutor. Yes, it can switch backwards, but in any case the quality of communication is lost. Constant distraction on gadgets also causes certain emotions in the interlocutor (for example, resentment, irritation), because of which the interpersonal component of contact suffers.

The general recommendation is to deal with your anxiety, because phubbing is primarily an obsessive stress test. For starters, people who make a fortune can be encouraged to notice and value those who are right next to them, no matter how urgent and important the content on the screen is. So take care of yourselves and those who surround you…

April 15, 2021

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