• Sofia Eugeniou

Are you a 'phubber'? Ignoring someone for your phone could be problematic.

Ignoring someone you're with in a social setting to concentrate on your mobile phone - called 'phubbing' - can have a negative effect on relationships.


Research from the University of Kent has found that phubbing threatens our basic human need to belong, and can detrimentally affect the way someone feels about their interaction with the other person guilty of phubbing.


Varoth Chotpitayasunondh and Professor Karen Douglas of Kent's School of Psychology, considered phubbing a specific form of social exclusion that threatens people's fundamental human needs: belonging, self-esteem, meaningful existence and control.

Image credit: Marketing Land

Their study involved 153 participants who were asked to watch an animation of two people having a conversation and told to imagine themselves as one of them. Each participant was assigned to one of three different situations: no phubbing, partial phubbing or extensive phubbing.


The results showed that as the level of phubbing increased, people experienced greater threats to their fundamental needs.


Participants also felt that phubbing caused a poorer quality of communication and a less satisfying relationship.


Phubbing can take place anywhere and at any time as someone reaches for their phone and ignores a conversation with their companion.


Clearly, it is healthy we take breaks from our phones and from social media - nothing can replace a face-to-face conversation with another human being. We are social creatures that quite evidently require this form of interaction as a basic need.


So, put your phones down for a little while and say no to phubbing.

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