Smartphones have moved front and centre, across many of our relationships for better and in some cases, for worse. A recent study looked at the relationship between the presence of mobile devices and the quality of face-to-face catch-ups (Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 2016). The results, not surprisingly, found that conversations in the absence of mobile devices were rated as significantly higher compared with when the individuals communicating had access to their mobile devices.

The debate is beginning to intensify in business and social settings as to what constitutes appropriate smartphone behavior. The rules are not written and what one mobile consumer might think is appropriate, another might deem abhorrent.

When phones were first released the act of taking a call or even looking at your phone at a restaurant was a no-go zone, compared with today where the standard protocol is to take a photo of your dish, to post it online for your friends to join in your dining experience. It seems that as much as we love our smartphones, our adoring connection with them is creating distances and disharmony in many of our closest relationships.

Nearly a third of Australians admit to having had an argument about mobile phone usage with their partner and 1 in 5 do so at least monthly. If we are not careful our most favourite device could become our most divisive device.

Specifically, the survey found that a quarter of Australian 18-24 year olds noted that their excessive use of smartphones had caused disagreements with their partners. For 25-34 year-olds the proportion was even higher, at 36 per cent.

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