Phubbing is defined as the act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention to the person next to you. According to a new study by Allied Business Intelligence research, it is estimated that by the end of 2013, 1.4 billion Smartphones will be used.
In the past, technology was not so prominent and ingrained in our lifestyles as it is today. People used to communicate by sending letters, making phone calls, and actually turning up at someone’s house and physically talking to them. Nowadays this has all changed. Are we evolving or regressing?
We have all been to restaurants and bars and subconsciously looked around us to see what everyone else was doing. We walk in, survey others sitting down and automatically adjust to our setting. Evidently, most people are more interested in communicating virtually rather than physically. I was recently astounded when I saw a 3-year-old with a tablet who was unable to communicate properly with his parents but perfectly able to use the device. Looking left and right all I could see were teenagers grouped around a table typing away on their mobiles. It seems like sometimes we fail to realise that if we look up, there are people right in front of us. What has happened to basic socialising?
In some situations, this move could act as a self-defence mechanism. For example, in an awkward social situation, some of us might revert to our mobile phones as a means of entertainment. Somehow, even though we are physically alone, being connected to a social network seems to comfort us. In fact, most of us tend to use mobile phones more when we are on the bus or waiting in a line as a form of distraction.
The sad thing is that most of the time we feel that we are not fully living and experiencing life to its fullest without showing other people what we are doing. Some go to the extreme and tell people what they are doing every hour of the day and become addicted. Most of us fail to realise that these actions are not technically sociable. Ultimately, we are not directly speaking to someone, but to an online audience who judges and holds information without communicating back. The scary thing is that we are becoming more robotic, which means that the current generation might eventually possibly lack the communication skills required within a physical social context. This is a vital element to our humanity which is slowly diminishing before our very eyes because of an ever evolving technological industry. Our lifestyle is rapidly changing and the majority of people are becoming lazy and unsociable because there is such a variety of technology at our fingertips. We should be using all of this technology as a tool, and we need to strike a balance between physical and virtual communication.
Besides reflecting bad mannerisms in direct social situations, continuously using a Smartphone is bad for the environment. Connecting to the internet with your mobile phone means directly connecting with other computers globally. This results in more consumption of energy and increases our carbon footprint.
Some of you might think that this is extreme but it is a morose reality. I dare all ‘phubbers’ to ignore their phones for one hour in a social situation and you will immediately notice to what extent you have become addicted, and at the same time enjoy the enigmatic beauty of communicating with others without the protective veil of technology.
Image from stopphubbing.com.