Our phones connect us electronically but could be degrading our personal connections.

Have you ever pulled out your smartphone to check an incoming text during a family dinner? Scrolled through your emails late at night while lying in bed next to your spouse? Interrupted a coffee date to see who's responded to your latest tweet or Instagram post?

If you own a smartphone – and 77 percent of adults in the U.S. have one, according to a 2017 survey by the Pew Research Center – chances are you've at some point diverted your attention away from someone you were spending time with in favor of your electronic device. That kind of behavior is undermining the enjoyment of face-to-face social interaction, according to research published in November 2017 in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. In one study, researchers had more than 300 people share a meal at a restaurant with friends and family members; participants were randomly assigned to keep their phones with them, on the table or to put them away. "When phones were present (versus absent), participants felt more distracted, which reduced how much they enjoyed spending time with their friends/family," researchers wrote.

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