Why you should stop Sidebarring — the annoying habit of texting while someone else is talking — at work
There’s a name for that rude habit you have of ignoring everyone around you.
It’s called sidebarring, the act of texting while you’re supposed to be listening to someone else at a meeting, on a date, at dinner or in just about any social setting — and 71% of people are guilty of it, according to a Facebook study.
And the habit is getting worse, considering that 80% of adults and 91% of teens message every day, the study found. The top five most popular methods of communication include: text message (67%); social media (48%); email (47%); video chat (47%); and face-to-face interactions, which ranked last with just 38%, according to Facebook.
Being glued to smartphones has become such an epidemic that the term sidebarring was added to the dictionary last month, defined as the practice of carrying out a secret conversation via your phone while you’re in a meeting or at a party.
Answering an important text, or checking your phone in a social setting, could actually be an addiction. In 2015, British psychologists observed how technology impacted 23 young adults and found that participants reached for their phones 85 times a day. The researchers discovered that more than half of the smartphone checking (55%) was in brief moments of less than 30 seconds of activity, which, the study suggests, could be a form of habitual behavior.
And diverting your attention to look at your phone impacts your work day. A Stanford University study proved that multitasking is less productive than doing a single task at a time. Researchers found that people who are regularly distracted with text messages and emails can’t pay attention, recall information or switch from one job to another as well as those who do just one task at a time. Focusing on more than one thing decreases your productivity by 40%, and lowers your IQ by 10 points, according to the Harvard Business Review. Focusing on a visual task, like texting, can make you unaware and almost deaf to noises around you, this is called “inattentional deafness,” a 2015 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience notes. That’s why when you look up from your phone while in a meeting you’re likely oblivious to what your colleagues or boss is talking about, and make you miss important information.
If decreased productivity isn’t enough to turn you off, maybe the rudeness factor is. Two thirds of people (67%) check their email or use a mobile web browser during a date.
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