While smartphones have become an effective means in connecting people and creating meaningful relationships, it can also hurt relationships and ruin love lives, according to a recent study.
Based on the findings of a study published in the January 2016 issue of the academic journal Computers in Human Behavior, smartphones are “relationship downers” along with money, bad sex and kids. In order to verify the correlation of relationship health and smartphone use, the researchers surveyed 175 individuals in the US.
Among the questions asked were if they felt neglected by their partner due to smartphone use as well as how satisfied they were with the current relationship. The questions were crafted to quantify “phubbing” or the act of being snubbed due to smartphone use.
Individuals who reported being at the receiving end of phubbing reported higher levels of conflict due to smartphone use compared to individuals who experienced less phubbing. Consequently, individuals who experienced higher levels of smartphone-related conflict reported decreased levels of relationship satisfaction.
Moreover, individuals who experienced romantic dissatisfaction due to phubbing reported themselves to be depressed in general.
Researchers James A. Roberts and Meredith E. David of Texas’ Baylor University provided two possible explanations for the phenomenon.
In the displacement hypothesis, time spent on using smartphones actually displaces more meaningful interactions with your lover, thus weakening relationship.
On the other hand, smartphone conflict theory suggests that the device is a source of conflict and leads to fighting, which then undermines your satisfaction with your partner and your relationship.
“Even if we act like it’s no big deal, it still stings whenever we’re phubbed by our romantic partner. In a sense, our romantic partners are choosing their phone over us. We probably feel a little less important and the relationship feels a little less secure, wrote Roberts.
How do smartphones affect your brain and body?
The bright blue light emitted by your smartphone screen causes the brain to stop producing the hormone melatonin, which gives your body sleep cues. As a result, it can disrupt your sleep cycle and possibly cause serious health issues in the future.