How does phubbing affect mental health?

How does phubbing affect mental health?

The practice of Phubbing has become so common that people are not aware of the negative effects it has on all kinds of relationships.

The practice of Phubbing has become so common that people are not aware of the negative effects it has on all kinds of relationships.

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Phubbing is the act of ignoring an interlocutor in front of you, preferring the indiscriminate and permanent use of technological tools, such as mobile phones, Tablets, iPads, and, in general, all portable devices. This practice generates social interaction problems.

With time, Phubbing has become more recurrent, not only in relationships with a partner, family, or friends but even at work, generating a negative effect on the self-esteem of those who suffer from this act, since it generates a feeling of abandonment and rejection which affects the breakup of couples, friends, and family ties. According to the researcher at the Center for Research and Innovation in Information and Communication Technologies (Infotec) Evelyn Téllez, “Electronic devices connect us more with those who are far away and at the same time disconnect us from those who are close.”

The etymology of the word and its causes

It is a combination of two words in English: phone (telephone) and snubbing (make a contempt), despising someone for the use of the phone. The person stops paying attention to their surroundings and concentrates their attention on their cell phone or mobile device.

Causes and usual behaviors:

The recurrent use of technology has generated disinterest in interpersonal relationships. 90% of adolescents prefer to communicate through text messages, which results in the absence of personal ties.

On the other hand, the absence of parents and their direct contact with children generates distant and cold relationship habits where the real expression of emotions does not exist because the way to express it is through emoticons. The lack of visual and physical contact degenerates in the absence of characteristic skills of affective or emotional intelligence such as empathy, sympathy, emotional warmth, and displays of affection through real hugs, caresses, or looks that, when establishing visual contact, generate deep emotional communication.

The social distancing generated by the pandemic degenerated into social and affective isolation, because as contact increased through mobile devices, social skills were slowly lost.


It makes us feel more alone, deteriorates social relations, generates a loss of relationship skills, affects people’s self-esteem, a split is generated in the mind, that is, it divides in two and the person, when losing personal contact, presents a dual behavior: one is when he is through mobile communication and the other when he is personally with his interlocutor.

The interpersonal relationship that provides us with direct contact through the gaze or physical contact is lost and the effects are divided, on the one hand, there are the ideas and what he writes and on the other hand, there is the emotional contact, the tone of voice becomes a plane, there is a loss of sensitivity to the other’s emotions as there is no eye contact. It generates dependency and addiction.

In children, the exaggerated use generates a loss of emotional contact and disconnection with reality, and both in children and adults, intellectual and emotional impoverishment, problems of attention, concentration, and addiction, in the same way, it generates physical diseases that affect the eyes, muscular atrophies due to sedentary lifestyle among others. On the other hand, mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression and emotional problems such as lack of empathy and the inability to express feelings or emotions that allow the development of healthy relationships are generated.

Recommendations to avoid it

Becoming aware that we are victims of phubbing or that we are doing it to someone allows us to make the decision to express how we feel, as opposed to the attitude of contempt, to establish commitments of limits in the use of the device to improve relationships.

In conclusion, not allowing this behavior to continue to be normalized, which is detrimental to our quality of life and our characteristic qualities as human beings, will lead us to maintain a life in balance, harmony, and health.


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