Smartphones have become far more invasive and demanding of people’s time, connecting them to the world in vastly more ways than the flip phones of yore. Also, smartphones have also become a common modern day distraction which is hardly noticed nowadays. It accompanies people wherever they go, demanding their attention multiple times a day. A phone call, a Facebook notification, oh look I just reached 1k followers on Instagram!
People compulsively carry their smartphones with them wherever they go. Be it to the bathroom, the bedroom or the dining table, cellphones are always in hand as if it were some magic self-defense tool capable of protecting them from all that is evil in the world. People have become irrevocably immersed in their digital lives, prioritizing the virtual world over anything else. Is it really that important to Instagram your dinner, rather than actually savoring it and sharing your impressions or maybe a forkful of the dish with the person next to you?
Smartphones get in the way of relationships, making it impossible for people to wholeheartedly devote their attention to the present moment. As a result, people miss out on many moments of wonder that are unique and never to be lived again.
Smartphones can also be the culprit of relationship breakdowns. Intimacy is hard to achieve or maintain when your phone keeps beeping with text messages or notifications. A constant, merciless distraction, our smartphones have come to replace deep-felt, long conversations in view of non-urgent and shallow tasks.
In fact, some people talk more about their relationships on Facebook than they do face-to-face with the person they’re actually in a relationship with. People are becoming so obsessed over how their lives look to others through the digital glass that they forget how significant it is to live, invest and relish in the present moment and the reality they live in.
Rebecca Hamunyela, a student of the Namibia University of Science and Technology defines phubbing as a barrier in any kind of social interaction. “Catch up dates for couples are meant to allow each partner to tap into his or her significant other’s mind and soul. So when we invite the world into our personal space, the connection between the couple is lost. We lose touch even though we may be holding hands or cuddling. The fact that we are in different places at the same time and it kills the spark in relationships,” she expressed.
Spending more time on your phone when you are with your significant other might not seem to be a great deal but it can cost your relationship. Whether it is interrupting conversations to check your phone or stealing a peek when you think your partner is not watching, this habit can cause some nasty consequences. Why choose to communicate through social media, rather than enjoy your partner’s company? Or better yet, do something together, other than sitting side by side staring at the displays on your individual devices? Inevitably, excessive smartphone use drives people away from each other, and they only choose to communicate impersonally and for superficial matters. Somehow, bonding and intimacy no longer appeal, making it impossible for people to build any new, sincere relationships.
Don’t play detective
Maria Kandjungu says that some people have trust issues and insecurities with their partners thus; it gives them the eager to look through their partner’s cellphones. “Cellphones destroy trust between couples,” she emphasised.
“By secretly searching through your partner’s phone, you are breaking their trust and respect. You will be violating the trust that you seemingly had with your partner and as a result you set your relationship back. Whether you find anything suspicious doesn’t matter. The fact that you don’t trust your companion shows that you are not heading in the right direction with them. By hiding something, you only traverse further in the wrong direction.”
If you decide to look through their phone, all sorts of unintended consequences can play out. For one, your partner can catch you, which would not only be incredibly awkward, but potentially relationship ending. “Nobody wants someone who secretively and confidingly goes through their stuff when they are not around.”
You might get to see things that you weren’t meant to see. There might be certain personal things that your partner may not want to share and you might happen to stumble upon one of these things. From awkward pictures that were only intended for them to see, to really personal messages between them and their family. You may not like what you see. “Some stones are better left unturned,” as the saying goes.
The adage ‘Treat others as you would like to be treated.’ This is typically the most effective expression for interacting with other people. If you wouldn’t want someone doing something to you, you should probably not do it either. Instead of looking through someone’s phone when they are not around, try being more upfront and honest with them. If you suspect that they might be hiding something, ask them.
Tresia Jeremia says that it is not appropriate for partners to snoop in each other’s cellphones. “There has to be space and boundaries between them because knowing too much about your partner can cause trust issues. After all what you don’t know doesn’t hurt,” she said.
It all happened so fast. There were boundaries set for smartphone usage, and now it becomes hard to save relationships and form meaningful interactions with the dear ones. People have become attached to digital communication regarding real life communication as secondary.
To sustain a relationship it needs to be based on constant give and take, where you think about someone else at least as much as you think about yourself. However, smartphones upset this balance. The depth and quality of face-to-face interactions is being exchanged with shallow and impersonal connections. It has also become a delusion that smartphones improve people’s experiences and relationships, when in reality they’re slowly eating them alive. The best way to keep the spice in a relationship should start with the turning off of cellphones.