“These days we have Smartphones, Smart cars, Smartboards, Smart everything, but consider this: if the technology is getting smarter, does that mean humans are getting dumber?” ~Rebecca McNutt
At the risk of sounding “preachy”, I want to touch base on an epidemic that’s slowly ruining a lot of lives. It’s one that’s born from an activity we all do; but for those of us who do it too much, it’s become a problem.
If these individuals aren’t careful, this habit will (if it hasn’t already) erode, or even destroy, the most valuable relationships they have; the relationships with their spouses, friends, and, most important of all, their children. So yeah, it’s a pretty serious problem. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be.
I must confess, learning there was an actual name for this reasonably new addiction left me gob smacked. I wondered if it was a real name, you know, like “alcoholism” or “Timbuktu” or “Sir Walter Raleigh” are real names, or just another dumb, unnecessary made-up name like “Brangelina“ or “dad bod” are dumb, unnecessary made up names. So I looked.
Upon investigation, it turns out this addiction not only has a real name, but it also comes with an actual Cambridge Dictionary definition. Seriously? This epidemic is probably what, maybe ten years old, and it’s got its own name already? Then again, in a world that brought us Brangelina, my surprise is probably a naïve reaction to this discovery.
After all, we live in a society that routinely rewards (unkind, stupid or immoral) behaviour with its own word or catchphrase, so why wouldn’t this prolific life-changing habit get its own name? Each day this practice stoically sledge-hammers big wedges between thousands of friendships, destroys previously great relationships, and leaves literally thousands of ruined relationships in its dopamine-addicted wake. With stats like that, maybe it’s earned its own name.
So prey tell, what is this new word that wields such God-like powers of destruction? It’s “phub”; and its Cambridge definition is “to ignore (one’s companion or companions) in order to pay attention to one’s phone or other mobile device”.
Come to think of it, since “phubbing” is at an epidemic stage, it probably deserves it’s own name. In fact, it made me want to dig in and learn a bit more about it, so that’s what I did. Here’s what I found.
With a population of 38 million people, in 2022 Canada has 32 million smart phone users, or 84% of our total population. Take a second to think about the dynamics of this.
Amongst that generation we (unfairly) love to hate, the Millennials, 95% have smart phones. This means the remaining 5% must be (a) living off-grid deep in the B.C. wilderness, (b) live in Eureka, Nunavit, or (c) belong to a Hudderite colony somewhere in Saskatchewan. Either way, that’s a crap-load of people looking at Tik Tock videos instead of spending quality time with their friends and families.
Here are some more statistics* to further shock, piss off, gasp at, or ignore about this plague called “phubbing”. *Source
For 56% of Canadians, checking their phone is their last task before falling asleep
73% of Canadians spend four hours a day online; Americans, five hours per day
35% use or look at their phone while driving; so not surprisingly…
26% of car accidents happen due to phone usage
53% say that they have never gone longer than 24 hours without their cell phone
47% consider themselves “addicted” to their phones
48% of people say they feel panic or anxiety when their phone battery is below 20%
45% say that their phone is their most valuable possession
43% use or look at their phone while on a date
100% of those people never get a second date (okay, I made that one up)
Like I said, I don’t want to get too preachy about all this; especially since I know that you probably aren’t one of those people (I’m not being facetious; “those people” likely wouldn’t have gotten this far without getting bored and scrolling away).
But just to hit the point home, I’ll share a brilliant little video that shows the potential dangers that “phubbing” (still a dumb, unnecessary word) can have.
Once you’ve watched it, share it with someone you think could use it. After that, put down your phone and spend some face-to-face time with someone you love, preferably with no screens within a five to ten-mile radius. Or just go for coffee together and leave your phones at home.
Either way, you’ll be glad you did. Sermon concluded.
Author Bio: David Knapp-Fisher
As founder of The Inspired Humans Project, David loves sharing inspirational stories. His TEDx talk, “Discipline or Regret, a Father’s Decision” been viewed over 112,000 times, and his book, “Punch Failure in The Face, The Buy It a Beer” has 37 five star reviews on amazon.ca.
David lives in Victoria B.C. and spends most of his time trying (& usually failing) to stump his son with movie trivia or planning his next big adventure; both while drinking great coffee, of course.