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Don’t Love Your Phone More Than We

Phones can be a lot of drama. It’s not that they aren’t useful (They are.) but they monopolize our time, training us to be addicted to them. That’s not a great quality for anything to have.

Baylor University professor James Roberts, is stuck on this concept and has been a leading critic on the effect phones have on us. In speaking with him about teens and addictions as it relates to technology, he explained that our phones are “designed very carefully to be just like a slot machine.” Interesting.

These addictions bleed into our relationships too and have yielded a new word: “phubbed”—or “phone snubbed”—where someone else views their phone as more important than who they are hanging out with. This is an obvious phenomena and something that we often encounter in various aspects of modern life. It’s most pronounced in regards to our boyfriends and girlfriends and people we date in general (or are close with) though.

The New York Times is on this subject now and spoke with Roberts about what our phones are actually doing to our relationships. Here’s what he’s found.

Dr. Roberts, who is a professor of marketing at Baylor University, asked 175 men and women questions about their partners’ smartphone use. Nearly half of respondents, 46 percent, reported being phone snubbed (phubbed) by their partner. People who reported higher levels of phubbing also reported higher levels of relationship conflict.

Ouch. Maybe put your phone down. Maybe work toward solutions.

One way to mitigate this problem is to talk about it. Duh. Another professional offered some hints at help.

If you’re feeling frustrated by phone interference in your relationship, talk to your partner but be positive. “Emphasize the benefits of being more connected,” Ms. Bell said. Rather than dictate to your partner what they should or should not do, try an approach such as, “I love talking with you, but when you’re constantly checking your phone it’s hard to have a great conversation.”

Sage advice!

If you’re worried you are a phubber, you can take a little test to see if you have a problem. This all sounds silly but it is a very real issue that we’re seeing in so many aspects of life. Like where? Your work. I actually spoke with Roberts on how bosses on phones affect employees and it actually causes people to check out of their job. That is no good.

So be conscious of your phone use. Think less about the “me” in the moment and more of the “we” around you, those whose attention is being negated via the connection you have with your phone.

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