4 Tips to Keep Smartphones From Ruining Your Relationships

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At this point, we have probably all experienced a moment when the person we’re with is texting someone else, or playing on their phone instead of paying attention to us.

This type of phone snubbing is so common it even has a name — “phubbing”– and it can take a toll on relationships.

“We get upset, we’re hurt, our feelings are hurt,” says James Roberts of Baylor University, who conducted a 2015 study of the effects of phubbing on couples. “We feel like we’re left out. Particularly when it’s with our romantic partners — the people that we love.”

Some stats from the Baylor study: Nearly half of survey respondents reported being phubbed by their partner. About one-quarter said it caused a conflict, and more than one-third reported feelings of depression as a result.

While technology can be wonderful, it also has its downsides. Following are four things you should avoid if you want to keep your smartphone from ruining your relationships.

Dial back your screen time

It is easy to let the wonders of your smartphone steal you away from the world that is all around you. So, limit screen time so that you remain engaged with real life.

This is especially important if you have children. One study by researchers at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Illinois State University suggests that the way adults use their cellphones can have an adverse impact on their children, and may even spur behavioral issues.

Another study — by online security company AVG Technologies — found that 54% of children surveyed said their parents checked their phones too often.

Turn off social media notifications

Do you really need to know every time someone posts to your Facebook page or sends you a tweet? Probably not. Turn off those alerts.

Activate the ‘do not disturb’ function

You can use a feature that automatically blocks alerts and rings during certain times, or only allows the phone to notify you if the calls or messages are sent from those you specify.

Set ‘power hours’

These are designated times to check email and other social media.

Compressing response-related work into short periods of time each day — say one to two hours — was one of the habits of the most-productive people, according to researcher and author Scott Belsky, writing on Mashable.

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