Where are your mobile manners?

By Morten Geertsen

An infographic says a thousand words. Well, at least they’re quite entertaining as well as informative. Often they have kind of a message. So did the one on mobile devices, which Bart sent me, written by an online college site – with the purpose of making students aware of their mobile behavior.

“Cellular Jerks: Where Are Your Mobile Manners?” There you go! The title says it all: Some people just don’t know how to behave with a cell phone in the real world.

In Denmark we have more bicycles than citizens (3:1). Maybe the same accounts for Holland, where Bart is from (Bart: I believe in Holland it’s 2:1 and 1 million are sold every year). However, I wasn’t aware of the fact that the number of mobile devices has increased beyond the number of people! Mobile zombies are everywhere: People walking the streets, their eyes fixed on the tiny screen.

In supermarkets in Denmark you often see people caught up in the worlds of their mobile devices: Distracted from any sociable interactions with the cashier (or any other person for that matter). No wonder that 3 in 4 people think cell phone behavior has gotten way worse in the past 2 years!

Do you use your cell phone when you shouldn’t? According to the infographic… you do.

If you’re a student most likely you’ve texted in-class, just like 9 out of 10 students. If school is not your strongest side, you might even have texted during exams, like 1 out of 10! Remember you’re not in “Who wants to be a millionaire” – you don’t have a “lifeline” and you can’t just call a friend!

To be honest, it’s not illegal in all countries to use your cell phone. However, it’s dangerous worldwide! Reportedly 3 in 4 adults have talked or texted behind the wheel. Apparently a text distracts the driver for an average of 4.6 second. So, more surprising than how fast-fingered drivers are, is the fact that this is the equivalent of driving an entire football field blindfolded!

Not exactly forbidden but definitely awkward is the combination of texting/calling and being intimate with someone.  10% under the age of 25 have texted during sex. Among all adults 15% will answer a call mid-sex. I’ll let the reader decide for himself, if that is a surprising fact.

3 in 4 college students sleep with their phones in or by their bed. This is of no surprise, because functions such as alarm clocks are used by many students as a way of gaining consciousness on early mornings.

Apparently cell phones often visit bathrooms. 3 in 4 people bring them there to either text, e-mail or play games, that way making the previous use of gossip magazines outdated. Similarly many people answer calls (63%) or strangely enough make calls themselves (41%). Consequently 1 in 5 people have experienced the traumatic accident of their phone falling in the toilet.

Ears don’t have the same ability to shut out the outside world as let’s say mouth and eyes. So chances are you’ve heard things you wish you hadn’t from someone talking on their cell phone. In that case you’re not alone. The same accounts for 55% of the rest of the population, who’ve felt uncomfortable in overhearing a personal cell conversation.

If you plan to make a personal call in the middle of crowded afternoon train, please keep the level of details low! Thanks on behalf of half of most of the population.

Total annoyance can be summarized: 22% have been bothered by others playing games or listening to music, 20% dislike hearing someone talk on their phone and 17% were peeved by people texting in movies. However, it is pointed out that paradoxically 90% of cell users think they have excellent mobile manners. Duh.

Translated into something more picturesque: The relationship between respectively active and passive cell phone users is a bit like two old neighbors not getting along, all the time getting annoyed over details. “How tall is the hedge supposed to be?” is a bit like “How loud is a person supposed to talk on a cell phone?” (the infographic says people speak three times louder on their cell phones compared to normal conversations!) and “What are they supposed to talk about?”.

However, as the infographic claims, our cell phone use can be quite dangerous or in other cases very annoying to people. Mobiles are awesome… they can do all kinds of things. But they’re not a natural part of the social reality and sometimes we need to control our dependence and use of them.

Are you a cellular jerk? (http://www.onlinecollege.org/cellular-jerks/)

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