Love affair with our phones – rant

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
9412 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

I completely agree with you. I do have a smart phone – two, actually as one is for work – but I also know how to write and engage in face to face conversations. When I was a teenager I was guilty of using my phone while talking to people in person but I don’t do that anymore. One of my brothers is notorious for it so I just stop talking until he notices and puts his phone down. It is incredibly rude not to give someone your full attention. 

Eventually dates are going to turn into texting back and forth across a table 😛 I worry about future generations actually being able to speak, write, and have healthy relationships that are not technology enabled. I’m happy to say none of my friends do this and we only check our phones every so often to keep in touch with our husbands. It isn’t a constant thing or something we need to do. 

Post # 4
5391 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

@Carolsays:  I have a smart phone, and do browse the internet when out and about – on my own. The key there is ‘on my own’.

For me, what you’ve described above (bar travelling on public transport; I prefer to keep myself to myself on public transport generally speaking, the exception being little old ladies who want to chat) is very rude. Eg: waiting for classes I will talk to people I know, or else strike up conversation  with people I don’t; if I invite someone over, my phone stays firmly out of sight; etc.

I do wonder sometimes what on earth people did before mobile phones were around; people are far too reliant on them IMO. I remember the days where a meeting was arranged on a regular telephone, and everyone was just at a designated meeting spot at that time; people seemed to be more punctual back then…

Post # 5
11598 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

It drives me nuts.  I was out to dinner with a group of people — adults twice my age, and some people my age.  The people my age mostly all put their phones away, while two of the adult women (40s and 50s) both sat there texting the entire meal.  I found it incredibly rude and offensive.

Post # 6
470 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

@Carolsays:  Ugh, I agree. But no one seems to understand why I think it’s so rude! I try to explain it as, well I wouldn’t just randomly get a book out and start reading during our date / when I’m talking to you?? How about if I just put on headphones and started listening to music while we were having a conversation? No one gets it – apparently watching your phone all the time is now socially acceptable? Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy!

Post # 7
3833 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

It is rude! I finally caved and bought a smartphone, but I swore when I did that I wouldn’t become one of those people you see glued to them.

I never have it out on the table/during meal, I never use it while talking to someone (even in retail situations). To be honest, I tend to forget my phone at home at least once or twice a week.

It drives me insane – I am getting to the point where I’ve started calling my friends out on it. Most of them had manners before they got smartphones.

Post # 8
305 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

@abbie017:  I think that has to do with how long they’ve been participating in the trend. Almost all of us acknowledge we did that as teenagers, when we first had cell phones, but grew out of it. The older ones will too once they’ve had them a decade 🙂

Post # 9
3623 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@Carolsays:  I love my phone and frequently use it. On public transit (where I am now), I don’t want you to talk to me. It gives the “please leave me alone vibe” quite nicely. 

On breaks at confrences, I’m checking in at the office–is there something that needs my attention.  I’d love to network,  but only once I know everything is okay and that our chit chatting isn’t at the expense of my staff waiting for my 2pm break for a decision on XYZ.

It is incredibly rude to use a phone at dinner,  with friends,  or at a wedding ceremony, but on my own time or woek time,  it is fine

Post # 10
4483 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

I agree. I don’t have a smart phone either, but between my regular phone and my tablet, I’m pretty connected. I love that FI’s family still sits and talks though (mine does too, but we’re an older crowd mostly). I really do want to get to know them and be a part of a gathering. I can sit around on my phone any old time

Post # 11
641 posts
Busy bee

Sorry darling, revert one carries a personal computer, gets enthusiastic about gadgets, celebrities play video game consoles, and the top opening weekend box office was about comic book super  heroes, and it beat out the former victor, a movie about a boy wizard. Nerds won a long time ago. That said legitimate nerd dialogue is actually very engaging, and always has been. But I know that’s not the point of your post.

Many people have pointed out the rudeness of cell phones in social situations, particularly since the dawn of the smart phone. But cell phone use isn’t the disease, it’s a symptom. People have difficulty focusing, are easily bored, and don’t feel as engaged in real life as they do in their devices. The thing is, you, as the person who is dissatisfied with this, are going to have to engage them. 

Yes, right there with their phones out and their attention on it. You talk to someone who hasn’t even made eye contact. You find a connection, and you use it as a foundation. To use nerds as an example, if you see someone reading a Dragonlance book, you don’t say to yourself “oh. That book is holding that person’s focus. I suppose there’s nothing to do but be sad that this person is already absorbed in their book.” You plunk your butt down, you ask them what parts of the series they’ve read, you talk to them about how weird it is having a non linear series because there’s no good way to tell what people have read, and sometimes you forget the titles and so you end up buying the same book twice, and the ramifications of Weis and Hickman selling rights to their universe and the way it lead to the series being done by a panel of authors which was used as a model in the World of Warcraft novels, but causes difficulty because you can love some and hate some books in the same series because the authors are completely different, and not highly controlled so some characters act inconsistently, so you sometimes have to define the books of characters you like, as you don’t like them the same way in different books, and then TSR ownership lead to strange things like Lord Soth crossing over to Forgotten Realms, but isn’t Lord Soth weird enough? And if you are already reading the hundreds of books within the Dragonlance universe, do you NEED an introduction to a completely different one with Forgotten Realms?

It’s a wall of text, but it’s a legitimate look into nerd discussion and debate. How can you use it?  If you see someone engaged in their phone, don’t let yourself be dissuaded. Ask them what they thought of the lecture. Ask them if they read that article about upcoming changes to local school policy. Tell them you don’t have a smartphone and ask if anyone knows a good place to eat in the area. Comment that they look like your students on the first day of a semester before you announce your cell phone bands. Whatever. You’re going to have to take those steps, because that little smartphone is always going to offer more, better, easier. It is designed to, and it’s being improved every single day.

Post # 12
1896 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

@Carolsays:  Wow this looks like something I rant about all the time!

I have a smart phone and a very good job that pays for me to have my corporate email setup on it.  There are definitely days where I will come home from work and frequently check on my email.  But, a) that’s what they pay me the big bucks for and b) some of my clients are in different time zones than me.

However, I do not make plans with people only to ignore them for a phone.  This is my pet peeve and yes, I will stop talking if someone is obviously tuned out on the conversation and into their phone.  Luckily, my FI also feels the same way so date nights are uninterrupted by the glow of a cell phone and we kick it “old school” by conversing with one another, WITH eye contact!

Most of all, it bothers me how people have replaced fundamental life rules (look both ways before crossing the street,  watch ahead when you’re walking, EYES ON THE ROAD) with reading their phone.  Zombies indeed, and the death rate because of cell phone distraction I believe will continue to climb as people get worse and worse about it. 


Post # 13
3222 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

@Pollywog:  my thoughts exactly. 

Actually, I find it rude when I’m on a break checking my emails and someone comes up to me for small talk. I have good smartphone etiquette and always excuse myself if I need to check on something. I never use it when speaking to someone or while at dinner. At a conference, outside of a meeting, or on public transit when I’m on my phone? I’m not playing Candy Crush — I’m attending to business that requires my attention.

Some people without smartphones don’t realize that it’s not just for browsing weddingbee. It makes work a 24/7 deal for some of is, and I need to be available. When I go offline, I have to set an auto-response email alert, and have it cleared with my bosses. 

Post # 15
2493 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Well, I’m like you–also a writing professor at a college so I’m old and fuddy-duddy and have told my students that their phones need to be OFF or SILENT in class. if their phone rings/vibrates in class I a) have the right to answer it and b) if I catch them texting, or if they have received repeated warnings from me about their phone ringing/vibrating in class, they are kicked out that day. Some find this rule draconian, but my logic–and I think I’m correct in it–is that my classes are small and discussion-based and everyone is giving each-other’s writing their full, undivided time and attention and they should do the same. 

Now, i’m also personally disturbed by phone-addiction in general, but I accept that it’s a different time and technology always changes culture. In the case of people using their phones just being alone and out in the world (on the bus, walking to class, waiting for office hours), I don’t care. It’s similar to me as reading a book. (and by the way, it also might be a smidge more pervasive on a college campus–we academics, a profession that tends to attract introverts, are known for preferring mediated forms of conversation!)

But i DO think it’s absolutely unacceptably rude rude rude to use a phone when you are supposed to be engaged with another person IN PERSON. I think it’s rude when others check their phones at a shared meal, or at a meeting, or when we’re having a conversation. If someone is in front of you, communicating with you in some way, you shouldn’t be on your phone. 

So, going back to my ‘draconian’ classroom policies, my other point to students is that when they check their phones, they are making a decision that whatever is going on on their phone is more important than whatever is going on in my class. They like to think my policy stems from a pride issue, but I explain that it’s not me taking offense that they might find a particular lesson boring or whatever, it’s plain old ‘being an adult’: College is not high-school. No one requires them to come to class (there are CONSEQUENCES for NOT going to class, but that’s not the same as forced attendance). That means, they are old enough to decide where their priorities are in their lives. If their priority on a given day is not my class and whatever is on thier phone, that’s fine (and some situations certainly warrant that decision)–but part of being an adult is OWNING decisions like that. 

Sorry for the long response. I could write a book on this. Oh, and I could ALSO write a book on the terrible state of writing/rhetoric/critical reading skills in education but that’s probably a different thread!

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