There’s a new word in town. Have you heard of it? That word is a combination of two words: phone + snubbing = phubbing. Do you know a “phubber?” How would one know if this describes them? You can start by asking your friends. Ask your spouse or even better, ask your children. If people in your life are trying to get your attention while you’re looking down at a small hand-held screen all too frequently, you just might have a phubbing problem.
The actual definition goes like this: the habit of snubbing someone in favor of a mobile phone. I’m not kidding. Google it. Seems odd to be writing about this subject, but it is a reality in our technology crazed world today. Airport travelers run into me while walking and looking down at their phone. It’s tough getting someone’s attention that actually works in a service department while they’re glued to their mobile screen. We can forever notice how face-to-face relationships have taken a back seat to an email, a text message or a Facebook prompt. It’s not unusual to hear bells, whistles, buzzes and other such prompts from mobile devices while in a meeting.
But here’s who I really feel for. I am genuinely concerned for the children of the phubber. These children are pulling on their parents’ arms, legs, saying “Mommy/Daddy” repeatedly, asking questions, trying to converse and the adults are either not responding or saying, “Wait a minute would you? I have to finish this text message.” I just want to scream, “PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN AND LISTEN TO YOUR CHILD!” You brought them into the world to teach, train, listen to, care for, play with and love. PLEASE put your device aside and interact with your child.
Not too long ago I was watching the parents on the sidelines of a younger children’s sporting event. Parents, not too far back in the history of parents attending their child’s sports activity, would actually watch their kids on the playing field, yell and scream words of motivation and affirmation. Today, they’re looking down, addicted to a device that is causing them to miss watching their children grow up. And when that child asks, “Daddy did you see me…?” You can fill in the blank. That parent will lie and say, “Yea buddy, you were great!”
One day those same children will have their own device and then the snubbing of a parent will quickly and sometimes, most deservedly take place.