Put it Away

I Love/Hate my Phone

Like most of you I have a love/hate relationship with my phone.  It has become my memory as I am constantly using the note pages to remember information that I will need later and the task list to remember key tasks that I have to complete.  It is my entertainment where I read using Kindle and watch random videos on numerous topics.  It has all my contact information, all my phone numbers, most of my credit and investment information.  In short, it influences almost every aspect of my life. It is amazing how addictive a piece of equipment can become.  Recent research has started to discover the significant damage that phones pose to relationships, especially in the area of Phubbing.  Never hear the term?  Read on.

 What is Phubbing

Phubbing is a word that combines Phone and Snubbing.  In short, it is the habit of looking at your phone instead of the person you are talking to.  It undermines relationships as it says to a person “The random text/notification I have just received and need to look at is more important than you.”  The act of Phubbing undermines all of our relationships and has a significant impact on marital relationships.  In addition, it negatively effects our mental health by increasing the likelihood of depression and general dissatisfaction.

 Put That Thing Away

So what are we to do?  Of course, we can’t do without our phone in this day and age.  It is often the primary way we communicate with family and friends from a distance.  However, we can set boundaries.  Here is a couple of recommendations:

No Phones at Dinner

When you sit down with family or friends, put the phones away.  A friend of mine has a rule for eating out with friends.  They all put their phones face down at the center of the table when they sit down for dinner.  The first one who picks their phone up before the checks arrive has to pay the bill for the entire table.

Take a Day or Afternoon Off

Set aside time each week and simply put away your technology.  No I-Pads, no computers, no phones.  Set aside at least an afternoon and evening each week where there will be no technology.  Get out and take a walk, go visit family or friends, make out with your spouse.  Do anything other than looking at your technology.  Don’t have a spouse to make out with…try going on a date.  Start small (4 hours) and expand your time without technology to a full day.  Yes, you may have to buy a book to read instead of having it on your Nook but you will survive, I promise.

Have the Talk

If phubbing is starting to have an effect on your relationship, have a talk.  Discuss how it makes you feel to be Phubbed and set some boundaries on the use of technology.  Setting boundaries before you issue your 2 year old a phone is easier than trying to establish limits after the kids have been using the phone for a few years.  Setting boundaries with family members can help strengthen deteriorating relationship and prevent deterioration from taking place in the first place if done early.
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