The phones we love too much

We have an intimate relationship with our phones. We sleep with them, eat with them and carry them in our pockets.

We check them, on average, 47 times a day — 82 times if you’re between 18 and 24 years old, according to recent data.

And we love them for good reason: They tell the weather, the time of day and the steps we’ve taken.

They find us dates (and sex), entertain us with music and connect us to friends and family. They answer our questions and quell feelings of loneliness and anxiety.

But phone love can go too far — so far that it can interfere with human love — old fashioned face-to-face intimacy with that living and breathing being you call your partner, spouse, lover or significant other.

The conflict between phone love and human love is so common, it has its own lexicon. If you’re snubbing your partner in favor of your phone it’s called phubbing (phone + snubbing).

If you’re snubbing a person in favor of any type of technology, it’s called technoference. A popular song by Lost Kings even asks: “Why don’t you put that [expletive] phone down?”

“A key to a healthy relationship is being present,” said James Roberts, author of “Too Much of a Good Thing: Are You Addicted to Your Smartphone?”.

When one partner constantly checks his or her phone it sends an implicit message that they find the phone (or what’s on it) more interesting than you.

In a 2016 study published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 70 percent of women revealed that smartphones were negatively affecting their primary relationship.

More than one-third of the 143 women in the study said their partner responded to notifications mid-conversation; one out of four said their partner texted during conversations.

The women who reported high levels of technoference in interactions with their partners were less happy with their relationships and with their lives overall. Continue reading

  • Lesley Alderman is a psychotherapist and journalist based in Brooklyn, NY.
Additional reading

News category: Analysis and Comment.

Tags: , , ,