Many families today are spending more time “alone together” – they make less eye contact and have less face-to-face communication as they prefer to look at their handphones instead of at one another, even at the dining table.

There’s a word to describe this unhealthy practice – phubbing. Phubbing (coined from the words “phone” and “snubbing”) means paying attention to your handphone instead of interacting with the person you are with. Research shows that it can damage your relationships and harm your bond with your kids.

Using a handphone for work purposes during family time can increase distress and strain on a family. Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine observed that when parents were distracted by a handphone at dinner, they had 20% less conversation with their kids and 39% fewer non-verbal interactions. Distracted parenting can lead to kids developing less positive interactions and poor child behaviour.

Put away that handphone. Disconnect to connect. Don’t let your handphone ruin your family life. Prioritise family time, and meaningful communication.