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October 7, 2010

A rude awakening! Why you should mind your mobile manners

When you’re in a meeting or sitting around the table for a family lunch, do you have an irresistible urge to check your smartphone? Well, you’re not alone. According to research by Retrevo, 10 percent of people 24 and younger even think it’s OK to check their phone and text during sex!

How times have changed. Remember the good old days, when your phone just alerted you to an incoming text message? You’d sneak a quick peek and then get back to the business at hand. Not anymore. Now we check our mail, our Facebook, our Twitter, the latest world news, the weather. The list of diversions in smartphone land is endless.

Don’t, dude! It’s rude

Problem is, it’s incredibly rude. A study done last year by Harris Interactive shows that 54 percent of adults were annoyed by people who typed on mobile phones while in the presence of others. A massive 82 percent said they’ve been annoyed by the inappropriate use of smartphones in public places. And, with smartphones growing in popularity, the problem is set to get worse. So what should we do about it? In his hilarious essay on “How not to use the cellular phone”, Italian novelist Umberto Eco thinks that indiscreet, ostentatious users are deserving of social banishment.

We think that’s a little drastic. Although one thing we do suggest is not to follow the example of Dana Hanna who updated his Facebook and Twitter at the altar. Without his bride Tracy knowing he was going to do it. No doubt she was thrilled to bits.

When smartphones aren’t on the menu

Our top tip. Don’t leave your smartphone on the table at home or in a restaurant. It’s like a big calling card saying to your companion that you’re waiting for something more interesting to happen. And if you have to get your smartphone out, don’t sneak a peak at it under the table. People will think you’ve spilt something in an embarrassing place.

If you can think of other occasions when it’s smart to keep your smartphone out of sight, we’d love to hear them. You might just save us a red face, or even worse, social banishment!