Smartphone etiquette: When is it not OK to use your mobile?

The thing with a mobile phone is, thanks to the fact it is mobile, it can be used just about anywhere. But just because something is possible, it doesn’t mean that it should be done.

PewResearch conducted a survey into phone etiquette, and the findings show that people are somewhat divided about where and when it is OK to use a phone.

Some of the results are not exactly surprising. A huge majority of those questioned were not cool with the idea of using a phone in a movie theater or during a meeting (95 and 94 per cent respectively). But there are also some interesting quirks in attitudes to mobiles - 4 per cent of people, for instance, see no problem with using a cellphone in the middle of a church service.

Overall, the 3,217 people who took part in the survey held conservative or considerate views about where it is acceptable to use a phone. It's worth noting that the accompanying report does not make it clear whether people had different opinions about making calls, receiving calls, or using a phone for something else such as texting or surfing the web.

Nearly a quarter of people (23 per cent) objected to the idea of phone use whilst walking down the street, and a similar number (25 per cent) were opposed to using a phone on public transport. 26 per cent dissed the idea of using a phone whilst waiting in line, but in more social situations the figures started to turn around a little. Just 12 per cent of people thought it was acceptable to use a phone during a family meal, and this figure drops to just 5 per cent when asked about phone use during meetings. The figures varied depending on the age of the respondent, with younger people being more open to the idea of using a phone in a social situation.

There is, however, an element of hypocrisy. Despite widespread opposition to use of phones in various social situations, a massive 89 per cent of those asked said that they had used their own phone during their most recent social gathering.

Check out the report in full on the PewResearch website.

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