Today's always-on connectivity has drastically changed social interactions, particularly with regard to the use of mobile phones in public. Is it rude to use your cellphone in public? When is it considered acceptable? A recent cellphone etiquette survey from the Pew Research Center attempted to answer these questions and more.
People have varying opinions when it comes to using a mobile phone in public. "Mr. Manners" Thomas Farley, for example, says using a cellphone in a movie theater should be a no-no and using a cellphone in an airplane disturbs other people who may want to enjoy a quiet flight, CBS New York reports.
With 92 percent of Americans owning cellphones, it has been quite a challenge to draw the line between what is acceptable mobile phone usage behavior and what is not. The Pew survey looked at out how Americans perceive cellphone use in public and during social gatherings, and how their own mobile phone usage measures up with these perceptions.
The survey was conducted from May 30, 2014 to June 30, 2014. It involved 3,217 participants, 3,042 of whom used mobile phones.
According to the results, the respondents viewed using a cellphone in the following situations as generally OK: while walking down the street (77 percent); on public transportation (75 percent); and while waiting in line (74 percent).
On the other hand, the respondents considered using a mobile phone in the following situations as generally not OK: at a worship service (96 percent); at the movies or other quiet places (95 percent); at a meeting (94 percent); during a family dinner (88 percent); and in a restaurant (62 percent).
Eighty-two percent of adult respondents - 41 percent of whom are women - said mobile phone use during social gatherings interrupts and hurts conversations. On the other hand, 33 percent said that mobile phone use actually contributes to the conversation. Young adults are reportedly more tolerant for using a cellphone in social gatherings compared to older adults.
Interestingly, 89 percent of the respondents said they used their cellphones in a recent social gathering, even if they themselves perceived it to be rude.
Apparently, mobile technology has changed - and continues to change - social interaction. At this point, there are no clear cut rules about cellphone etiquette.
"We're in the middle of this enormous social transformation where the rules of the road aren't clear and so they're constantly being negotiated," Lee Rainie, director of Internet, science and technology research for the Pew Research Center, told Reuters.