Cell phone use negatively impacting relationships - doctor

Long Lunch 21/08/2018
Photo: Unsplash.

One in four Kiwis believe that their partner spends too much time on their phone, according to 2degrees research.

The telecommunications giant 2degrees surveyed over 2,000 New Zealanders about their mobile use, which concluded that 32 percent believe phone use affects their relationship quality.

Dr Anna Martin told RadioLIVE that face-to-face conversations take more effort than communication by mobiles.

Smartphone use is often used for both avoidance and relaxation, explains Dr Martin, offering instant gratification with little to no external effort.

But easy digital communication isn’t so good for relationships.  

“You feel less validated, you feel less connected, you don’t feel as loved, so you don’t feel as prioritised,” Dr Martin said.

Dr Martin recommends building tech-free habits throughout the day, like keeping the bedroom technology free or leaving phones in the car when out to dinner.

Establishing ‘old school’ activities like board game nights can also help wean the family off their phones, in addition to building practical skills.

“We do need to be able to read people’s non-verbal communication to increase the depth, perhaps, of the relationship.”

Listen to the full interview with Dr Anna Martin above.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.