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Mobile Manners: new Pew study of American’s views on mobile etiquette

Mobile Manners: new Pew study of American’s views on mobile etiquette

By on September 1, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

The PEW Internet & American Life Project has just published a new study of American’s views on mobile etiquette. Mobile phone technology has forever changed us. We have become inseparable from our devices.

In an environment where once-private conversations can be easily overheard in public places and where social gatherings are disrupted by people staring at their screens instead of the person sitting in front of them, a new set of social rules are emerging.

As you might expect, people think different types of public and social settings warrant different behavior.  Generally, it’s OK to talk on the phone in public spaces like on a bus or on the street, but not OK in more private settings like at dinner, in a meeting, in a church. Duh!

Some of you are old enough to remember when phone calls were made in private booths or at home. Times have certainly inverted things as now we’ve come to accept, or at least tolerate, public use of cell phones, and have become less accepting and tolerant of it in more private settings.


Here are some of the key findings:

mobile phone etiquette



We are mostly all hypocrites when it comes to cell phones in social settings

In general, Americans view cell phones as distracting and annoying when used in social settings — but at the same time, many use their own devices during group encounters.

82% of adults say that when people use their phones in social settings, it hurts the conversation. Yet, 33% say that cell phone use in these situations frequently or occasionally contributes to the conversation and atmosphere of the group.

Despite these views, fully 89% of cellphone owners say they used their phone during the most recent social gathering they attended.


Clearly, it depends on the use. Looking something up for the sake of the conversation is acceptable. Taking and posting a picture of the gathering, OK. Reading your email and browsing social media is not OK.

Gender and age prove to be a factor as well, with women and those over 50 being more sensitive to cell phone usage in social settings.

Read the full report here.


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