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You've Probably Been 'Phubbing' And Didn't Even Know It

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - What do you get when you cross the words "phone" and "snubbing"?

You get "phubbing."

Catherine Bradley's cell phone has practically been an extension of her hand since she got it in sixth grade.

"I am pretty much obsessed with it," said Bradley, an 8th grader at Dobbs Ferry Middle School.

It has been two years and she's seen the impact it has on her friendships: Kids constantly on their phones, and they sometimes have to force themselves to put them down.

"At some point we all just say, let's live in the moment and let's put out phones in the middle, but some people fight, like, no, I don't want to do that," said her fellow 8th grader Angelina Palumbo.

So when they learned what "phubbing" was, they all admitted to doing it, even though they know it is wrong.

"It's like, offensive, and like, you don't want to talk to me, you just want to look at your phone," Bradley said.

Phubbing is ignoring someone you're talking to face-to-face to look at your cell phone. It's a phenomenon many find themselves guilty of, especially during meals.

"Oh, absolutely, but I know it's disrespectful at certain times," said Valerie Vasquez of Dobbs Ferry.

A new study out of the University of Kent says "phubbing negatively affects people's relationships because being ignored this way threatens their need to belong."

WEB EXTRA: Read the study (.pdf)

"It lowers your self-esteem, it makes you say 'What's the matter with me?'" said addictive behavior psychologist Dr. Harris Stratyner. "Instead of saying what you should say: 'What's the matter with this person?'"

Stratyner says phubbing has been around since 2010. He says you should call out a person for ignoring you, since he believes they may not be doing it deliberately, and more out of habit.

"I would ask them, what are they doing and why did you go out tonight if you were just going to be on your cell phone. Is it an emergency?" he said.

The doctor said hopefully the phubber will get the point - but it's up to you to make sure you don't phub them back.

Stratyner said there could also be a level of narcissism associated with the phubber if they realize they're ignoring another person and continue.

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