When’s the last time you’ve been “phubbed?” You know what I mean, you’re having brunch with a friend while she’s texting someone else the whole time. Or, you think your husband is listening to you talk about your day, complete with “uh-huhs,” only to look up and see his eyes glued to his phone. I only have a baby now so we don’t allow her to text yet, but I can imagine how much teenagers phub their parents. Phubbing – phone snubbing – may sound silly but it’s something that is negatively affecting many of our relationships and it’s time we put our phones away. It’s time for a digital detox.
According to the Stop Phubbing site, it’s “the practice of ignoring one’s companion or companions in order to pay attention to one’s phone or another mobile device.” Nobody wants to be phubbed. But unfortunately it happens every day, everywhere, and we’re all guilty of it.
Phubbing can ruin our relationships.
Baylor University conducted a study showing that almost 50% of the 450 people surveyed felt “phubbed” by their partner, and for 22 percent of them, it directly leads to a fight or conflict. Sounds about right. How many times have we asked a family member or had them ask us, “Are you even listening to me?”
It’s no surprise then that according to another survey, 70% of participants said “phubbing” was hurting their ability to connect with their partner. Who knew such a small device could wreak havoc on our marriages.
Of course, phubbing doesn’t only hurt marriages. As I mentioned before, we do it to our friends, family, and co-workers. I do, however, think it hurts marriages the most. In front of our friends, we might try to be at least a little more aware when we are doing it.
If I catch myself scrolling Instagram while chatting with a friend I try to immediately put it away. But it’s different with our families. We may justify that since the family isn’t going away it is okay to multitask and tune them out. I can listen AND check my email.
It’s Time for a Digital Detox
But it’s not just social media that we snub others with. Our phones contain the weather, email, games, and texts that can distract us from the real world. The problem is not that we do it though, the problem is how often. According to Julie Hart, an Australian relationship expert, we check our phones every 4-6 minutes. That equals 150 times a day.
Are we spending that much quality, uninterrupted time with our family and friends – or – do Instagram, email and the latest news alert creep in? And, this is very convicting for me, but am I spending that much time with God or reading my Bible? Unfortunately, I’ve been phubbing my faith the most. Yes, a digital detox might help improve your relationship with God, too.
The other day I caught myself trying to rush through my devotions so I could check how many Instagram likes I got on my last post. This is embarrassing but I have a feeling I might not be alone.
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While I am so grateful for social media – especially as an introvert – more often it feeds into my insecurities than helps me genuinely feel connected to people. It is also addicting. Social media platforms know this, keep us hooked, and coming back for more.
There are many times I will check Facebook or Instagram just because I’m bored. Or end up going to bed much later than I wanted because I got caught up in scrolling through endless photos on Instagram. The problem is that we’re so addicted we almost can’t turn it off when we’re with other people. Not only are our relationships hurting, but it’s a major time suck, as well. If you can relate, you might enjoy this article on how to fight discontentment in an Instagram perfect world.
So what can we do?
Digital Detox Challenge
Here are some tips I plan to implement into my own life over the next few weeks and might be helpful for you, too.
1.) I am going to carve out time each day that I will commit to not looking at my phone. For me, I am going to schedule it in the morning so I can fully focus on my devotions and not what’s happening on Instagram.
2.) I am going to commit to putting my phone away when I am eating dinner with my husband, family, or friends.
3.) I will take off all social media alerts from my phone. (Another great option would be to take the apps off altogether.)
4.) While it is tempting to check my phone during commercial breaks, I will commit to not checking it because it only feeds into the addiction.
5.) Lastly, I am going to ask my husband and friends to keep me accountable and call me out if they catch me phubbing them. Sometimes we might not even realize it.
We can do this. We can give our family and friends the full attention they deserve and need. And don’t worry, Instagram will be there the next day. I bet we won’t miss much.