“Our kids are actually doing what we told them to do when they sit in front of that TV all day or in front of that computer game all day. The society is telling kids unconsciously that nature’s in the past. It really doesn’t count anymore, that the future is in electronics, and besides, the bogeyman is in the woods.”   Richard Louv
Many of my newsletter editions focus on achieving success through best practices based on positive life principles. And my definition for success is being and becoming the best at what you are meant to be and do in life. 
While positive actions produce great results, eliminating negative habits can also be effective. Recently, I introduced to my family a new term that defines a practice which I am encouraging others not to adopt. The new word for this habit has not yet made it to the renowned University of Oxford Dictionary, and although the term is found only in the lesser-known Urban Dictionary, I believe it merits our attention. What is this new term? Phubbing. 

Phubbing is the act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of honoring them with our undivided attention.  Author Lulu Chang writes about the dangers of what is now epidemic throughout the world in her article, What is phubbing and is it ruining your relationships?”

Conclusions from the research of James Roberts, Ph.D., professor in Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business, show a number of negative effects in key relationships ensuing from ignoring others because of the prevalence of Smartphones and iPhones. The results include a decline in overall life satisfaction, depression and damage to relationships. Not exactly the path to a successful life.

Chang writes, “And even if it’s as seemingly inconsequential as looking down at your phone every once in a while, study results suggest that these few seconds start to weigh heavily on your partner’s mind, eventually contributing to an overall feeling of dissatisfaction, or perhaps inadequacy, within the relationship.”

Chang’s article lists the questions found in the survey from Dr. Roberts:

  • During a typical mealtime together, my partner pulls out and checks his/her cellphone.
  • My partner places his or her cellphone where they can see it when we are together.
  • My partner keeps his or her cellphone in their hand when he or she is with me.
  • When my partner’s cellphone rings or beeps, he/she pulls it out even if we are in the middle of a conversation.
  • My partner glances at his/her cellphone when talking to me.
  • During leisure time that my partner and I are able to spend together, my partner uses his/her cellphone.
  • My partner uses his or her cellphone when we are out together.
  • If there is a lull in our conversation, my partner will check his or her cellphone.

Do you ever engage in any of the behaviors illustrated by these questions?  The results of this survey revealed that 46 percent of the population is preoccupied with their cellphones. If you acknowledge that you fit in at least one of the survey categories, then consider yourself a phubber.  And, any activity in phubbing should be a warning sign of future negative outcomes.

No doubt, researchers will continue to analyze how easy accessibility to all forms of electronics affect human relationships and other aspects of personal lives. The current conclusions are not positive.  While awaiting further advancement in gadgets that command our utmost attention, what are we going to do? I know what I will do – I have already begun a new practice. In family gatherings, I repeat one message every time I see the behavior I am trying to eliminate.

No phubbing!