London: Internet addiction is the reason behind people 'phubbing' or snubbing social companions to concentrate on their smartphone, a new study has found. Researchers at the University of Kent in the UK suggest that people's internet addiction is leading them increasingly to 'phub' - and experience being 'phubbed' - in social situations. This, in turn, leads them to view this behaviour as normal, they said.
The research, by Varoth Chotpitayasunondh and Professor Karen Douglas from the university's School of Psychology, identified a number of factors that were linked to smartphone addiction. These were internet addiction, a fear of missing out and a lack of self-control.
This smartphone addiction, in turn, was directly linked to people demonstrating phubbing behaviour, researchers said.
The researchers also found that it was this experience of phubbing - and of being phubbed themselves - that made people more likely to think that the behaviour was 'normal'.
The research, thought to be the first to consider both the causes and consequences of this modern-day phenomena, is likely to lead to further investigations of the impact of phubbing on the quality of social interaction.
The study was published in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour.