Mobile Phone Etiquette

By on Oct 29, 2015

Nothing irritates me more than someone using their phone while talking to me – and it’s not because I think I am special; I just find it so terribly rude. If I ever find my boys doing it then WATCH OUT! I have zero tolerance!

With 90% of Aussies now owning smartphones according to the latest research from AIMIA (The Digital Industry Association of Australia), almost all of us are ‘always on’ thanks to the glorious nature of mobile connectivity. But this mobile connectivity is completely changing our interactions, both in public spaces and private gatherings, and I am not sure I like it!

Many experts believe a new standard of etiquette is evolving to keep pace with our digital society. But has a new digital etiquette really developed or are we just adjusting to lower standards?

The Pew Research Centre in the U.S. recently conducted a study into Americans’ views on mobile etiquette. With American smartphone ownership almost in sync with that of us Aussies (U.S. at 92%), the results provide a lot of relevant food for thought.

Here are the top findings:

  • 77% think it’s ok to use a mobile phone while walking down the street
  • 75% think it’s ok on public transport
  • 80% consider smartphone use to be off limits at family dinners, meetings, church or movie theatres
  • Younger Americans are more ‘ok’ with device usage – no surprise really! 10% of 18-29 year olds think its ok to use a phone in a meeting whereas 2% of 65 year olds don’t

However, when it comes to face to face interactions, things get a little muddy. While an overwhelming majority (82%) feel that mobile phone use at least occasionally detracts from social gatherings, 89% do it anyway. Among the culprits, 78% reported that their mobile use “contributed” to the group in some way, such as by sharing a picture or sourcing information that could be interesting to the group.  Only 30% said they used their phones to separate themselves from the conversation.

So what does this all mean? Without a doubt, the mobile phone has transformed the way we live. Some of us use it with consideration for others but many don’t. I believe that the most powerful way for us to make a lasting change as a society is for us as parents to instil true digital etiquette into our children. Teaching them to be truly considerate of others, the consequences of being addicted to that small screen and the risks of not putting safety before our mobile phones should be top priorities for us as parents.

Sound a bit overwhelming? Don’t stress. In my next blog post, I will outline my top mobile phone etiquette tips to help you get your kids on the right path!

Till Next Time,

Take care

Alex xx

About the Author

Cyber Safety Ambassador

McAfee’s Cyber Safety Ambassador for Australia and New Zealand, Alex, is a mother of four boys who juggles family, work, home life, hobbies and her children’s ever growing social lives (on and offline). Like many parents, Alex has concerns about the safety of her children, who are growing up online world. Alex’s blogs are about ...

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