Although I have a smartphone, I am not a particularly heavy user of the technology.  Thus, I was surprised to learn of a new smartphone phenomenon called "phubbing" from a research article entitled, "When phubbing becomes the norm."  

In the article, the term is defined in this wise:

The term “phubbing” represents the act of snubbing someone in a social setting by concentrating on one’s phone instead of talking to the person directly.

Apparently, the behavior has become so common that it needs a name and merits serious research.

The article points out several traits that increase an individual's tendency to phub, including Internet and smartphone addition, FOMO (fear of missing out), and a lack of self-control.  

It also turns out that the more people phub and are phubbed, the more normal they think it is.  However, there was a curious effect of gender on this result:

... the extent to which males are phubbed tends to be the main predictor of perceived social norms of phubbing in men, whereas the extent to which females phub their companions tends to be the main predictor in women.

The authors speculate that, since men phub less to begin with, their perceptions of phubbing are more affected by the actions of others.  Women, already more inclined to phub, take their cues from themselves.

I can see that I have a new skill to practise!  

I would like to draw the researchers' attention to what I think is a growing rival to phubbing, which is ignoring people by playing Pokémon Go in their presence.  Norwegian news reports that Trine Skei Grande, leader of the Liberal Party, was recently spotted playing the game during a hearing with protestors from Northern Norway.  They were in town to complain that their views on the closure of northern military bases had not been heard.

Some commentators found the practise disrespectful.  Ms. Grande, however, was more blasé:

Grande told VG during a break in the proceedings that she had stopped playing Pokemon, since it bothered some observers and participants. “But some of us have heads that listen better when we can do something brain-dead on the side,” Grande told VG, in an apparent attempt to defend her Pokemon play. “We’re not all alike. More sensational things came up during the hearing than this.”

I'm sorry but was multitasking when I pasted that quotation here and did not read the whole thing.  Was it relevant?  I hope so.

Obviously, this behavior needs a catchy name.  I thought of Poké-phubbing, but that may be too derivative.  I am open to suggestions.

Pokemon Go app open on a smartphone.
(Courtesy of Abingdon Pokemon Go/Flickr.com.)

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