Where is it OK to use your phone? The generation gap with mobile etiquette, however, is not as wide as one might assume. For example, 98% of young adults used their phone during their most recent gathering with others, compared to 69% of users 65 or older.
Most of those surveyed like to keep their cellphones on: 45 percent said they rarely turn their phone off, 31 percent said they never turn their phone off. Pew found that 16 percent of people used their phone because they were “no longer interested in what the group was doing”, 15 percent wanted to “connect with others outside of the group”, and 10 percent use a phone to avoid group conversations altogether.
Men were more likely to say it was socially acceptable to use their phones when out than women.
As smartphones become ubiquitous in our lives and norms of etiquette change, a survey from the Pew Research Center shows we all have double standards about what we consider appropriate phone use in social settings. Cellphone use during social gatherings is almost ubiquitous: 89% of cellphone owners say they used their phone during their most recent social gathering with friends, and 86% say someone else in the group used their phone. And, unsurprisingly, those aged 18 to 29 were the most accepting of using devices in social scenarios. 77% of those surveyed said using a phone while walking down the street is “generally OK”.
Those surveyed found it to be generally OK to use phones while riding public transportation (75 percent) or waiting in line (74 percent), but not so much in a restaurant (38 percent), at a family dinner (12 percent) or while taking in a church service (4 percent).
A sizable minority of people – about 22 percent – said they often or occasionally used theirs to avoid interacting with the people around them.
Many Americans view cellphones as harmful and distracting to group dynamics, even as they can’t resist the temptation to use their phones.
There are some contexts in which people think phone use is appropriate.
Two-thirds of mobile phone owners frequently or occasionally look up information about where they are going or how to get there, and 70 percent co-ordinate get-togethers with others using their device. Fully public venues are viewed by all age groups as generally acceptable places to use ones cell phone, while usage in quiet or more intimate settings is mostly frowned upon by all, says Mr. Rainie. The margin of error for the total sample was plus-or-minus 2.2 percentage points.
The survey also asked about the acceptability of using a phone in various settings.