It makes me sad when my teen-aged Grands bury their faces in their smart phones. I find it eerie when I get in an elevator or am walking down a street and everyone around me is peering into or tapping on their cell. I'm uncomfortable when a friend takes a call on the cell while we're chatting over lunch--or just a cup of coffee.
So much for me and my generation, stuck with our sense of the world that doesn't seem to apply to the digital age.
Comes now a Pew study that assures me that it isn't my generation. No one is quite sure what's right, what's wrong when it comes to cell phone etiquette. Calling their report "Manners 2.0: Key findings about etiquette in the digital age," Pew offers these observations on the social norms for what is rude and what is acceptable behavior when we gather together but still feel the call to stay connected to the wider world.
The key finding: Across the generations, most of us see cellphone use as OK in certain public spaces, but not in more private or intimate gatherings. Here's the Pew chart on the where's of public space .
Most of us--82% in the survey--view cellphones as harmful and distracting to group dynamics, but a growing number (and this probably applies to the younger generations) say cellphones are used more often to make social gatherings more social, not less. Here's the data on that finding: 89% of cellphone owners say they used their phone during their most recent social gathering with friends, though they also said they were more likely to use their cellphone in a manner tied to the social gathering than in an antisocial way.
So, does taking selfies or photos at group gathering count as using the cellphone? Sort of. Pew's survey reports that people who used cellphones at private gatherings used them to post a picture or video of the gathering (45%), share something that happened in the group (41%), get information they thought would be interesting to the group (38%), or connect with other people known to the group (31%).
Another chart from Pew spelling out some of those findings.
As to a generation gap, it's there but you can almost see the convergence from here: 98% of young adults used their cellphone for one reason or another during their most recent get-together with others; 69% of those over 65 did. Almost all age groups, however, frowned on usage in quiet or more intimate settings.
Full report available at: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/08/26/americans-views-on-mobile-etiquette/