Hax Philes: Am I using my phone too much?

A question submitted to the July 18 chat:

Lately my husband has been complaining that I’m on my phone too much. I’m not constantly on it looking at social media or playing games– 90% of the time I’m reading stuff on Wikipedia. Something will pique my interest in the world and then I want to go read all about it. For example, we were watching TV the other night and a commercial for “Masters of Sex” came on, which prompted me to read the entry on Masters and Johnson. I used to do this as a kid with our set of encyclopedias I just get this incredible urge to research.

I never do this while I’m having a meal or conversation with people. Mostly it’s if my husband and I are watching TV and not talking to each other. He seems to think I should be fully paying attention to the television show and thinks it’s rude. I say if we’re not talking anyway, what’s the difference if I’m watching TV or reading something? I’ve made an effort to curtail the usage to make him happy, but I’m just curious to see if other people think this is really as rude as he’s making it out to be.

How do you define the boundaries of appropriate phone usage in your house or with your friends? How do you know if you’ve crossed the line? How do you walk yourself back if you have?

Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. The column includes cartoons by "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis -- Carolyn's ex-husband -- and appears in over 200 newspapers.
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