• Phubbing: Is using your mobile phone an addiction?
Everyone is guilty of it but is using your mobile phone really an addiction? Some people say it is and are pushing for people to stop 'phubbing' and return to the real world.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 19:30

We're all guilty of it. You're sitting around talking to friends and you pull out your phone to check your emails, or reply to texts only to realise that you don't know what happened in the conversation.

Phubbing is a mashup of the words phone and snubbing and many online are using it to describe people using their phones and ignoring others around them.

But there's a growing movement of people aiming to put their phones down and break the phubbing trend.

"We've all sort of been in that situation where you're in a cafe or bar, someone whips out their phone and they start ignoring you or they start snubbing you," says Alex Haigh the campaign leader of the stop phubbing movement.

There's now more than 37,000 people who have joined the stop phubbing movement and Mr Haigh says many people have contacted him online as they try to kick their mobile phone use.

"We've had some people get in contact and they might be phubbing at a funeral for example, or a bride phubbing a groom," says Mr Haigh. "I think the smartphones come in... in that they help you to fuel this digital identity."

"It all ties in to this online person that you've created and whether or not that matches up with you you are as an actual person, it varies from person to person."

And while many people might call phubbing an addiction the truth is it is currently not listed as an official disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM).

Dr Ben Williams, a senior lecturer in psychological science at Swinburne University of Technology, says phone addiction could potentially fall in the category of behavioural addictions like problem gambling.

"It comes down to whether or not the behaviour is causing you distress or to neglect other obligations that you have," says Dr Williams. "I think the difference between a problem with say smoking and a problem with say mobile phones is you don't have to smoke but most of us have to make phone calls."

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