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Surprising Science

Are You A Phubber? Do You Know Someone Who Is?

An Australian man’s newly-launched campaign is the latest effort to address the phenomenon of people paying more attention to their phone than to other people around them.

What’s the Latest Development?

Presumably fed up with rude behavior, Australian graduate student Alex Haigh recently launched a campaign titled “Stop Phubbing” which draws attention to those people — “phubbers” — who choose their smartphones over other people in social situations. The campaign, which is funded by an ad agency, includes a Web site full of false statistics (“97% of people claim their food tasted worse while being a victim of phubbing”) and real anti-phubbing tactics, such as the ability to download posters with sayings like, “While you finish updating your status, we’ll gladly serve the polite person behind you.”

What’s the Big Idea?

Many studies have been conducted in recent years over the magnetic pull of mobile phones in general and sexy, app-laden smartphones in particular. The success of Stop Phubbing — the site actually shut down earlier this week due to traffic — strikes a chord with many who don’t think they should have to fight with a handheld device for a person’s attention. As Haigh told the Melbourne Herald Sun: “It’s one of those things that regardless of where you are, everyone has experienced it.” One can only hope that the majority of the reported 55 percent of Americans who are smartphone owners are better behaved.

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Read it at Time


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