How to avoid phubbing your friends and family in lockdown


We are all doing our best to get through a third national lockdown, which means more time indoors and, for the vast majority of us, even more time looking at screens. This is no bad thing in itself, as our devices allow us to stay in real-time contact with the people we cannot currently see in person due to the necessary travel and social distancing restrictions.

But what about the partners, family and flatmates we’re spending these locked down months with? Do we run the risk of adding ‘distance’ between ourselves and the people we love and live with whilst we tend to our virtual connections?

The time we spend looking at screens (smartphones in particular) instead of interacting with the people around us has a fairly well established name: phubbing (or phone snubbing). Sometimes this feels obviously rude. But most of the time you probably don’t even notice it’s happening because it’s become so commonplace for many of us.

But my question is: because our phones are everywhere now, do we need to change anything? Is phubbing simply a part of lockdown life, just like Zoom meetings and abandoned bread recipes? Maybe. What’s important here is that research shows phones can affect how we feel about someone we’re with purely by being placed in the same room as we are.

Featured image via Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.

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