The media love to tell us that mobile phones are ruining our personal lives and relationships, frequently cataloguing the myriad ways we’re going wrong: texting at the dinner table, leaving the ringer on in the movie theatre, talking loudly about personal issues in a public place, answering calls in the bathroom. Commit any of these infractions, we’re told, and we’re doing serious damage to our important relationships. One study out of Essex University claims that simply beingnear a mobile phone can negatively impact our interactions with others. Fortunately, there’s some hope on the horizon. Despite common perceptions, a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Kansas and Microsoft Research reveals that when it comes to mobile devices and their impact on our relationships, things are not as straightforward—or as dire—as they seem.