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Phub a dub dub


Tony Deyal

Phub a dub dub

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IF I TOLD YOU TO PHUB OFF, will you?  If you area cellphone addict you definitely will not. This is why a group of Australians has started a campaign to stop phubbing especially since there are an increasing number of people who don’t give a phub.
“Phubbing” is the act of snubbing someone during a social interaction to look at your mobile.The person who started the anti-phubbing campaign, Alex Haigh, 23, from Melbourne, was quoted as saying, “A group of friends and I were chatting when someone raised how annoying being ignored by people on mobiles was.” They then started a website where companies can download posters to discourage phubbing (stopphubbing.com). In other words, phubbing is phubbidden.
According to Britain’s Daily Mail, “Phubbingis just one symptom of our increasing reliance on mobile phones and the Internet which is replacing normal social interaction.” Research conducted by YouGov revealed that 44 per cent of Britons spend more than half an hour a day looking at their phones, eight per cent admit to checking it for three hours a day and three per cent say they spend five or more hours on their mobiles.
The poll also found that 54 per cent of people checked Facebook, Twitter or other social media every day, with 16 per cent checking more than ten times a day. More than half of the sample, or about 63 per cent, carry their phone with them “almost all,or all of the time”.
In another poll, advertising agency McCann found that 37 per cent of people feel it is worse to not answer a message than it is to “phub” your friends. The research also showed that a third of Britons polled admitted to being phubbers and more than a quarter (27 per cent) said they would answer their phone in the middle of a face-to-face conversation.
Rodney Collins, regional director of McCann’s Truth Central unit which carried out the research, said: “People do not appreciate the influence mobiles have had on their lives. When it comes to inappropriate or rude behaviour, there’s not as much admission to conducting those behaviours in Britain as there are in other markets. Only about 20 per cent of British people admit to phubbing, lower than in the US.”
The difference in the United States is that phubbing can be phatal. An article in the New York Times revealed that “staying glued to your smartphone in public isn’t just rude, it can also get you killed”and that the rise in the number of American pedestrians killed in traffic accidents – from4 109 in 2009 to 4 432 in 2011 – has been attributed to what is termed “distracted walking”.
The Times reported that at a Press conference in Washington, DC, on Monday, Anthony Foxx, National Transportation Secretary, claimed the increase in fatalities could be blamed partly onpeople walking while texting or listening to music.
This is consistent with a report by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission,which reported that 1 152 pedestrians were treated at accident and emergency rooms in 2011 after being injured while using a portable electronic device– up from fewer than 600 in 2004. Around two-thirds of those injured were under 25, the optimal age for texting, tweeting and tumbling (or use of the Tumblr social networking site).  New York topped the table of US cities withthe highest number of pedestrians killed relative to all traffic deaths, with 51 per cent. Los Angeles was second, with 42 per cent. 
Liberty Mutual Insurance has reported that 60 per cent of people surveyed said they oftendrafted emails or updated their Facebook statuson the move, even though 70 per cent knew fullwell the risks of striding into oncomingtraffic unawares.
In the Caribbean the drivers of the oncoming traffic are also on cellphones.  Even thoughTrinidad and Tobago has made it illegal to drivewith a cellphone in your hand or held up to yourear, all drivers throughout the region are phubbers and phub almost all the time. It is not merely amatter of bad manners or even bad driving, it is literally a case of life or death.
I have tried really hard to imagine the worldof the 20th century BC. (Before Cellphones) andfind it difficult even though it was just a few years ago. What I have discovered in the interim is perhaps the most important truth of all – Caribbean people can’t talk and do anything else at the same time. Texting, sexting, picture-take-outing, flubbing, tumbling, email-checking, all take priority in the daily lives of most of us. Locked in our online prisons, DIGICELS so to speak, life is a virtual LIME. 
 •Tony Deyal was last seen saying that Antiguais so hot that he bought a loaf of bread from the supermarket and by the time he reached homeit was toast.

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