Divorce Rates Set To Surge As People 'Phub' Their Partners

'Phubbing' or 'phone snubbing' is driving such a huge wedge between couples that many neglected partners are calling in the divorce lawyers, according to a study.

'Phubbing' is so widespread that a third of people in a relationship say they have been ignored by their phone-distracted partners according to a survey by UK market research company YouGov.

The online poll quizzed more than 2,000 Brits -- 1,300 of them in relationships -- in February and revealed one generation was the biggest phubbers.

Millennials -- those aged 22-37 years old -- were the most guilty of phubbing, with 57 percent of them complaining that their significant other's phone addiction is affecting their romantic lives.

They were also more likely to exhibit sneaky behaviour on their mobile phones, with 11 percent admitting to having inappropriate conversations online.

READ MORE: Netflix Is Killing Marital Sex And I Couldn't Be More Turned On

Amanda Rimmer, a partner and family law expert at Stephensons Solicitors LLP commissioned the poll and said that some couples are now spending more time in bed focused on their mobile phones than being affectionate with each other.

People sleep with their phone, eat with it, play with it and talk to it -- it's almost a relationship itself.

Phones are driving such a wedge between couples that there's been a surge in divorce inquiries in the last five years, according to Rimmer.

"Many people [are] citing a partner's secretive mobile phone behaviour as an indication that the relationship is falling apart," she said.

Addicted Aussies

The state of mobile phone affairs -- in all senses of the word -- is little better in Australia.

According to a recent survey by Huawei Australia, running out of phone battery is literally ruining Aussie's lives.

Yup, Aussies' FOBO -- that's Fear of Battery Obliteration -- is so bad that some of us get sweaty palms, teary and anxious when our phones die.

Another study published in a journal called Addictive Behaviours found that students would rather skip a meal than spend time away from their phones.

There's even a cafe in Melbourne that's offering diners an enticing 20 percent discount if they ditch their phones while they eat.

The owner of Saint James Cafe, Craig Tate, told 10 daily that he came up with the idea after noticing that the atmosphere of the cafe had changed -- "Everyone has their head in their phones or electronic devices,' he said.

Apparently, the response so far has been positive. Humanity: 1. Technology: 0.

WTF is 'phubbing?'

The term 'phubbing' was coined in 2013 by Aussie university student Alex Haigh -- it's a portmanteau of the words 'phone' and 'snubbing'.

According to the official Stop Phubbing campaign website -- yep, that's actually a thing -- 'phubbing' is defined as "the act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention."

The site has posters you can download to discourage phubbing at events -- but we're not too sure how successful the message is ...

Image: Stop Phubbing.

READ MORE: How Screens Are Sabotaging Your Sleep And What To Do About It

The harmful effects of our phone fetish

If our addiction to our mobile phones is anything to go by, many of us are at risk of relationship breakdown -- and much worse.

People are actually getting physically hurt -- or even dying -- because of their phones.

A woman in southern Taiwan suffered the consequences of using her phone with the screen setting on maximum brightness after doctors revealed that she'd effectively burned up to 500 holes in her cornea as a result.

Image: Asiawire.

At first, the 25-year-old's eyes became bloodshot then shortly after that they began to hurt -- according to her doctor, she had been exposing herself to more than 600 lumens every day for two years when the recommended daily level is roughly 300.

It's not just our eyes that are at risk. Checking your phone when you wake up is apparently ruining your entire day -- and your brain.

Sure, almost all of us do it but it's making us super stressed wellbeing expert, neuroscience PhD student and R U OK? ambassador Chelsea Pottenger told 10 daily.

"When we wake up and we check our phone, we skip the theta stage altogether and go straight to beta brain waves, which is basically where your brain is in high-stress mode," Pottenger explained.

In the long term, this can lead to feelings of paranoia, worry, fear, anger and irritability, all of which are connected to a weakened immune system.

Then there was that tragic story of a Russian teenager who reportedly died after her phone dropped into her bath while it was charging.

Reports claim the 15-year-old had plugged her phone in to charge before it fell into the water, electrocuting her.

Sounds like we all need to break our phone addiction -- here are some psychologist-approved tips to help you quit.

Feature image: Getty.