Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Smartphone growth creating etiquette challenges

26 August 2015, 12:07

Washington - It's OK to use your smartphone walking down the street or on public transportation. But not at a family dinner. And definitely not in church.

Users of mobile devices are struggling to find the rules of the road for how and when to use the devices around others, but a survey out Wednesday shows a surprising consensus.

The Pew Research Center found 77 percent of Americans polled felt it was acceptable to use a smartphone while strolling down the street. Three-fourths also said it was OK on public transit or while waiting in line at the store.

But 88 percent said a family dinner was not an appropriate place for phone use and most said the same about a meeting (94 percent), the movie theater (95 percent) and a place of worship (96 percent).

But survey respondents did not always practice what they preached.

Eighty-nine percent said they used their phone during a social gathering - 61 percent to read a text message or email, 58 percent to take a photo or video, 52 percent to receive a call, and 25 percent to surf the web, for example.

Etiquette has become a challenge as more people keep their smartphones on and with them at all times, Pew noted.

Pew found 92 percent of US adults now have a cellphone of some kind, with two-thirds owning a smartphone. Some 90 percent of them say that their phone is always with them. Thirty-one percent said they never turn their phone off and 45 percent say they rarely turn it off.

- Disrupting social norms -

"This 'always-on' reality has disrupted longstanding social norms about when it is appropriate for people to shift their attention away from their physical conversations and interactions with others, and towards digital encounters with people and information that are enabled by their mobile phone," said Lee Rainie, Pew's director of Internet research.

"These are issues with important social consequences. Norms of etiquette are not just small-scale social niceties. They affect fundamental human interactions and the character of public spaces."

The survey found that conduct which might have been considered rude in the past is now gaining acceptance.

Two-thirds of cell owners frequently or occasionally look up information about where they are going or how to get there, and 70 percent coordinate get-togethers with others using their device.

Some 23 percent of cellphone owners say that when they are in public spaces they use their device to avoid interacting with others.

The survey found younger adults between the ages of 18 and 29 are most tolerant of public mobile device usage.

Ninety percent of this group said phone use on public transportation is acceptable compared with 54 percent of people 65 and older.

This group is also most likely to use their cellphone in public spaces, the survey found.

But Rainie noted that "Americans of all ages generally trend in the same direction about when it is okay or not to use cells in public settings."

He said that fully public venues are viewed by all age groups as generally acceptable places to use a phone but that "usage in quiet or more intimate settings is mostly frowned upon by all."

The findings are based on a survey of 3,217 adults, 3,042 of whom are cellphone users, in May and June 2014. The margin of error was estimated between 2.2 and 2.3 percent.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...