Are You Phubbing Your Family & Friends | Dad University Podcast Ep. 246

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Sitting there waiting for someone to finish being on their phone is not very enjoyable. You are being ignored and not paid attention to. This is phubbing, the combination of being on your phone and snubbing someone.
It’s happening all over but especially within families.  In today’s podcast, we are going to go over what you can do if someone is phubbing you and if you are the one guilty of phubbing, we will give a few tips so you can stop it.
There is an overarching category to when technology devices interrupt or intrude our lives, this is defined as technoference.  It’s the mix of technology and interference.  This is happening in our families and only getting worse as rings, notifications beeps and vibrations happen more frequently.

You are playing with your child and your phone in your pocket beeps or vibrates.  You got a message!  You have to check it and that is a technoference.

Taking it a step further, If you are paying attention to your mobile phone instead of the person you are with, you are a phubber.  Phubbing effects our families (including our children and spouses) as well as our friends and people in the workplace.

The word phubbing was created by the McCann advertising agency in 2012 as part of a marketing campaign for the Macquarie Dictionary.  It means the combination of phone and snubbing. When someone phubs you, you may feel less important, rejected , or excluded and this can have a negative impact on you.  It’s not a good feeling.

Now, the most common phubbing that happens is between partners or spouses.  If it is your spouse who is phubbing you, here are a few things you can do to try to reduce it:

 1)   Have a direct conversation – Your spouse may not even realize that they are phubbing you. Have a phubbing intervention. You may say, “Sometimes when we are together, and even when I’m talking to you. your head is in your phone.  I’m being phubbed and I feel like you are ignoring me.  Let them know it’s not welcomed.

2) Be more entertaining or interesting – You might not like this one but take a hard look at yourself and see if maybe you are really boring.  Is the phubbing possibly justified because you are not making any effort to engage your spouse.  Ask them to go on a walk, play a game, do something rather than just sitting and wishing they would pay attention to you.

 3) Create rules – In our house, we have a rule that there are no electronics at the dinner table.  Maybe when you are on a date together, phones are put away and only used to be available for an emergency.  Come up with the rules regarding phone usage when together that are realistic and that you both can live by.

These tips can help you reduce your spouse’s phubbing.  But what if you are the phubber?  What if you are phubbing your children?  If you are, then you are communicating to them that the phone is more important than them.

Whether you are phubbing your spouse or your child, there are some things you can do to try to end your phubbing.

1) Reduce notifications –  Turning them off is best but I understand this may be too revolutionary of a concept.  But is there anything that important that can’t wait?  You have to know that someone sent you a Facebook or Instagram message?  Turning off or reducing notifications can help reduce the temptation to even be on your phone.  This can pre-empt the phubbing.  You get a message and before you know it, you are down a deep rabbit hole of pictures of classic cars.

2) Ask yourself: Can this wait? – When you pull out your phone, is it really that important?  Or are you simply on autopilot, bored, or not even realizing you are doing it? Before you grab your phone, ask yourself if it can wait.
3) Be present – If your spouse or child is in the room and you happen to be on your phone, maybe consider putting the phone down or away.  Show them that they are more important than the phone.  When you are alone, go for it.  But when others are present, you be present.  Being on your phone is not being present.

 4) Stop making excuses – I know it’s work and that seems like a great excuse because you being on your phone is more important than when your spouse is on their phone.  Be honest with yourself and stop making excuses.  Realize that you have a problem.  Most of us have the same problem.
You can miss life’s moments by looking down all the time.  Look up and realize there is an amazing and beautiful world around you.  Let’s stop phubbing and try to get others to stop phubbing as well.


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