I Want A Real Relationship, Not A Phone-y One

Technology has become a double-edged sword in today’s world, adding to our lives in so many brilliant ways, but also affecting our interpersonal relationships. According to the 2017 Prudential Relationship Index (PRI) 1, as many as 56% believe that the time they spend on their phone has a negative impact on their relationship with family.

The findings of the study also show that 62% of Malaysian men look at their phones more in the relationship, whereas 50% of women think that they’re the ones who spend more time on their phones.

However, as many as 38% of Malaysians feel they are competing with their partner’s phone. This can come about where partners have feelings of jealousy that their partners may find something or someone else more interesting than they are, which adversely affects their relationships.

With the advent of social media, people’s habits have greatly changed. People are more affected by what happens on social media, and feel compelled to post highlights of their own lives. 31% of partners complain that they are made upset by their partner’s posts on social media.

By constantly posting, there is also a feedback of gratification when our posts are liked and shared, which can be addictive and bad for your mental health. You will constantly feel the need to keep up with the Joneses.

Mobile phones also affect family relationships with 84% of Malaysians saying that some families spend too much time on the phone rather than talking to each other, the highest proportion of the nine countries surveyed in 2017.

This has led to as many as 85% thinking that mealtimes would be better if everyone turned off their phones. This way, families will be able to spend quality time catching up about their lives, with the right attention given.

People also get quite distracted these days with the constant notifications from their phones, with 58% of Malaysians admitting to getting distracted by pop-up alerts on their phone even though they are talking with other people.

Just to show how dependent Malaysians are to phones, only 5% said they would prefer to not have technology free days! This number shows how we can be slaves to technology, and we should overcome this addiction.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom as 39% of Malaysians have said that they have already allocated several “technology free days”. They are willing to give up as many as 6 days a month to meet this technology detox knowing that it may help make their relationships stronger.


1 The 2017 Prudential Relationship Index (PRI) involved interviews with 4,600 respondents in Asia, in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, who shared insights into their relationships with partners, parents, children, friends and relatives. In Malaysia, 516 respondents between 25 and 55 years of age living in Kuala Lumpur or Petaling Jaya with a monthly household income of at least RM4,000, representing approximately the top two-thirds of household incomes in the survey cities.