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Wishing You a Phubbing Free Holiday

by Beth on December 12th, 2017

I love to celebrate the holidays by giving and receiving presents. But this year, I’m going to do my best to also give the gift of presence. The holidays offer many of us the chance to spend time with family and friends, but technology can prevent us from connecting in a meaningful way.

Have you heard of “phubbing”? It’s a new word that refers to snubbing someone by checking your phone. It was popularized by an advertising campaign in Australia in 2012 that encouraged people to “Stop phubbing”. A few years later, researchers in the United States surveyed people to determine the effects of phubbing on relationships. Forty-six percent of respondents said their partners phubbed them, and 23 percent said it caused problems in their relationship. In another survey of women who were in a romantic relationship, 62 percent reported that their partner phubbed them daily.

Checking text messages and social media on our phones is an addictive behavior. Sean Parker, one of the founders of Facebook, has admitted that the site was designed to create something addictive by exploiting “a vulnerability in human psychology”. A former vice-president at Facebook, Chamath Palihapitiya, recently admitted feeling guilty for his part in creating “tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works”. I use Facebook and I love that it lets me keep in touch with family and friends who live far away. But I do make an effort to limit the amount of time I spend on it.

Most of us don’t realize just how much time we spend on our phones. Our son downloaded an app that tells him how often he checks his phone and how much time he has spent on it each day. This is a great way to become more aware of your behavior. You will likely be shocked if you decide to give it a try.

My wish for everyone this holiday season is that we all make an effort to limit the amount of time we spend on our phones, so that we can enjoy quality time connecting with our loved ones. If you can’t resist the temptation, leave your phone at home or in another room. Or download an app that will help you stop using your apps. Notice how nice it is to give your brain a break and to see how much the people around you appreciate the gift of your presence.

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