As nationally syndicated radio host Kim Komando phrased it, "Even if you've never phubbed someone, chances are you're been phubbed yourself. And it's ruining relationships."

So, what is this "phubbing" thing, why are so many people doing it and why is it so bad?

Well, let's start with the official definition. "Phubbing" is the practice of snubbing others in favor of our mobile phones.

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You're welcome for the "Aha!" moment. Who among us hasn't been in the middle of a conversation - and someone starts looking at their phone? Or, have you done it, too? Have you surreptitiously sneaked a peek at your device because, well, you just couldn't help it?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, then you have firsthand experience with "phubbing."

And perhaps the most interesting thing is, it's now so commonplace that we may no longer even notice when we’ve been phubbed - or phubbing ourselves. And now more and more research shows the profound impact phubbing is having our relationships and well-being.

getty images
getty images

As some studies report, up to 70% of people say they are regular phubbers (or phubbees?) ! Why? The biggest reasons given by admitted phubbers is fear of missing out and lack of self-control. Psychologists say it comes down to one thing: addiction. Social media, cell phone and internet addictions have similar brain patterns - and brain alterations - to addictions to heroine, methamphetamine and other drugs. And here's the scariest part: What's the impact of the addiction for children whose brains and social skills are still under development?

So, what's the solution? Experts say that awareness is the first step to phubbing prevention. Know that what motivates you and others and while you may not be able to control others, you can be aware of opportunities to change yourself.

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