The rise of phubbing - aka phone snubbing
Practice has spawned an online backlash that has gone global
“While you finish updating your status, we’ll gladly service the polite person behind you.” “No Tweeting, No Facebook, No Instagram, No Foursquare, No Sexting: respect the food, the music and the company you’re in.” These are the posters you can download from the elegant Stop Phubbing website – the online home of a campaign against digitally derived rudeness that has started to go global.
Coined by Alex Haigh, a 23-year-old Melbourne resident, phubbing stands for “phone snubbing”, and describes “the act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention”. Tongues are firmly in cheeks when it comes to some of the stats (“if phubbing were a plague, it would decimate six Chinas”), but the intention behind the campaign is serious enough: to highlight the scourge of glazed faces in public places, text-tapping fingers during supposedly intimate dinners, and reunions that might as well have been held via Google Hangouts given the screen time involved.
When it comes to smartphones, tablets and other mobile delights, many of us have the unfortunate tendency to behave like teenagers: prodding and poking our shiny toy to the exclusion of anyone and anything else. And that’s partly because, so far as mobile tech goes, we are all adolescents. Mass-market smartphones are barely 17 years old; iPhones only six; and iPads just three. Little wonder we’re playing etiquette catchup, or that it has taken a digital native to unlock this particular cabinet of fascination.
It sounds cheerfully daft, but there’s an uncomfortable truth at the heart of phubbing: other people are easier to handle when encountered on screen. They’re less likely to demand unreasonable exertions such as undivided attention or clean shirts. In an age of information suffusion, it makes horrible sense to shrink each other into text messages and status updates – because this is a way of coping with constant, limitless connectivity.
The other way, of course, is to board the phub wagon and start shaming others (and yourself) into a more grown-up existence. Try splitting the bill Silicon Valley-style: all your phones go on the table, and the first person to crack and begin fondling their screen foots the bill. Or you could take advantage of Stop Phubbing’s name-and-shame facility, which invites the public exposure of incessant phubbers. Beware of visiting the site via a mobile browser, though. Do this, and you’ll be met by the flickering admonition “mother fubber” then told to sit down at a computer like a sensible person.
Sometimes, hiding behind the screen remains a godsend. Who would forgo their fake urgent text messaging when a charity mugger looms across the pavement; or email management when waiting alone in a bar? Physical proximity is no guarantee of interestingness, for either places or people.
Be careful, though, who you snub next. Their wry smile and flashing fingers may already have consigned you to the phubbing hall of shame.
Life & Style blogs
Watching TV after work makes you feel 'guilty and like a failure'
Zebra meat: Exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Alien: Isolation preview - If you scream in space, it makes a sound
Xiaomi Mi4: 'Chinese Apple' launches flagship mobile to challenge iPhone
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...
£400 - £401 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SSIS Administrat...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...