A new study done by two scientist at the University of Essex in UK, suggests that cell phones (even if not in use) can ruin relationships. The study was published by Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, titled “Can you connect with me now? How the presence of mobile communication technology influences face-to-face conversation quality”.
Researchers Przybylski and Weinstein conducted their study by placing couples in private booths with a desk and two chairs facing each other. Each desk had two items: a book and a cell phone, or a book and a notebook.
Pairs of people who had a cell phone in their presence reported difficulties with their communication and interaction, while others with no cell phone presence reported no problems. Przybylski and Weinstein followed up their study with another experiment. They placed participants in different situations and then asked them to describe if their conversations were “meaningful” or “casual”. Those who had a cell phone present, reported “casual” or ineffective communication, while those who had no cell phone present at all, reported “meaningful” interactions.
The complete article is available at Sage Journals via this following link:
Personally, whenever I’m at family events, I leave my phone in the car. Based on my experience, my phone used to interrupt my interaction in many ways:
a) My children keep asking for the phone to play games on it or to browse photos. By not having the phone with me, they get encouraged to interact with others face-to-face instead of being buried in a device.
b) Knowing that my cell phone is tucked away at home or in the car on the weekends, I spend time with my family with a peace of mind. There are no calls coming in, and no need for me to turn the phone on to call anyone, and no anticipation of turning the phone on to check e-mail, voicemail, etc. Completely unplugged from technology and totally plugged in with my family has proven to provide a healthy relationship with my wife and kids.