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You know the person always staring at their phone? There’s a word for that!

Many of us are guilty of using our phones when in a social setting. Whether it be meetings with friends or spending time with family, there is always a time when the phone comes out. Tap or click here for ways to break your tech addiction.

How can you not tune in to your phone when there is so much to do with it? Phones do everything from checking your email to playing games to video chatting with others, text messaging and just about everything else. 

But trying to have family dinner with the kids constantly staring at their phones is annoying. Now there is a word for people who can’t put their phone down. You might be shocked to know that this term has been around for almost a decade.

Here’s the backstory

This act is known as phubbing. The term was created by the combination of the words phone and snubbing. It also refers to a person interacting with their phone rather than with a human. This has been around for roughly eight years, but it’s still not a very common term.

Studies have focused on phubbing when it comes to those in relationships or regard to other family members. However, a new study by researchers at the University of Oklahoma looks at phubbing around friends and a possible connection to some types of mental health issues.

This study was led by Juhyung Sun, a doctoral candidate at the University of Oklahoma. She was struck by the amount of phubbing going on in day-to-day interactions.

Sun observed how many people used their phones while sitting with friends at a cafe, regardless of the relationship type. For this particular study, researchers recruited a total of 472 undergraduate students with an average age of 19.

Participants were asked to indicate duration and usage patterns of daily smartphone use. Anything that ranged from less than 10 minutes to more than five hours. They were also asked what they used their phone for the most, such as texting, calling, gaming or taking photos.

What the phubbing study concluded

Friend phubbing was determined using a modified version of the Generic Scale of Phubbing, which was developed in 2018. The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D scale) developed by Radloff (1977) was designed to measure levels of depression.

This included 20 items, such as, “During the past week I felt depressed” on a four-point Likert scale ranging from one (rarely or none of the time) to four (most or all of the time).

The results of this showed that those with higher levels of depression, social anxiety and neuroticism were significantly related to greater friend phubbing. It was also found that greater friend phubbing levels led to lower levels of friendship satisfaction. 

Researchers also said phubbing is more likely in the presence of three or more people.

Even though many of us are guilty of phubbing, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s related to mental health. Although, being more present when others are around is something to be mindful of.

The study has been published, and you can check it out here.

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