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When is it Okay to Use Your Phone?

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I think that nearly everyone is guilty of using their phone in a social situation. Maybe it was a genuine emergency or something that really required you to pull that device out of your pocket. Or maybe you were just bored and needed a distraction. A new Pew Research study shows that public opinion is starting to change on when it’s acceptable to pull out a phone, and that age is a huge factor.

According to the study, most people are okay with using a phone while doing solo thingsĀ like waiting in line or even walking down the street and not okay with using phones in places of worship or while at the movie theater. Here’s how it breaks down:

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If you look at studies from previous years, the main one that has changed is walking down the street. In fact, it has become so common that countries in the past have gone to lengths like installing padding on street lamps or attempting to make a smartphone walking lane.

What is more surprising to me are some of the other figures. For example, a majority of us (82%) agree that using a device in a social situation is probably not a good thing to do and lessens the experience. But 89% of people admitted that they do it anyway. Generally, it’s something small like reading a message or snapping a photo to post to social media. Unsurprisingly, this seems to be more common in the younger crowd.

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If you look up the definition for the word etiquette, it is defined as “the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.” As the group that started using smartphones since they were toddlers grows up, I can only wonder how the social norm is going to change and whether the concept of conversation and face-to-face interaction is going to suffer.

What do you think? Are smartphone habits changing for better or worse? Do you use your smartphone around others? Give me your thoughts in the comments below!