Tech Etiquette: When is it appropriate to use your phone?

Posted by Steve Dotto

I had a poll recently on my show, asking how many of you use your technology in the bathroom, specifically I was interested in how many people use their smartphone, or, or tablet, in the john.

Blackberry’s and iPhones, and iPads and heck, notebooks are quickly replacing the newspaper and Sports Illustrated in restrooms across the land. Oh fine, be all “that’s disgusting, I would never do that....gross” if you want to, but fully 49% of you do just that, according to the most scientific of research, a poll on my home page.

Yep, half of the western world does more than paperwork in the loo, if you catch my drift. That text you get from your besty may indeed be originating from the men’s or ladies room.

Our addiction to technology should come as no surprise, several years ago the “crackberry” phenomenon brought our attention to not only how tethered we are to our phones, but the shifting standards of etiquette. How many times have you sat down in a meeting to have less than full attention from all attendees, people checking email, texting and browsing the web has become epidemic in many meetings. Rude, and wasteful, it seems the more senior the person in a meeting is, the more prevalent the act is.

The lack of courtesy extends well beyond meetings, sit down in any restaurant and you will see someone sitting across from a friend, co-worker or lover and in the middle of a meal, check their email, fire off a text or some other online activity.

I was sitting on the ferry the other day, and in the fine on-board restaurant which is feature of every BC Ferry, around me I counted: out of 23 occupied tables, 15 had people interacting with their phones instead of the person sitting across from them! (to be fair a few weren’t all that attractive so I suppose....no it was still rude!). Of those 15 tables 5 had both partners using their phones or a computer, while 10 had only one partner. With the ignored partner staring into space, looking rather forlorn. People were playing games on the phone, browsing the web, sending emails, all this with a real live person only feet away. In the midst of all this detachment, one table actually had people talking, and playing cards, they seemed so, human. I wonder if they know there are apps for that?

I don’t know about you, but I am making a determined effort to keep technology in it’s proper place, and that place is not at a table with my family, nor is it in a meeting, nope my tech belongs at my desk and the bathroom, you may not want to know where this blog post is originating.

Oh, and if you need to be grossed out just a bit more, a recent study found 1 out of every 6 phones have traces of fecal E.Coli yep, poo!

Photo: Gizmodo

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Steve Dotto

Steve Dotto

Steve Dotto is Canada's most respected geek. For over 15 years, as host and executive producer of Dotto Tech, a nationally syndicated TV show, Steve has entertained and educated millions of Canadians on all aspects of technology. Now on radio and a podcast Dotto Tech continues to put technology in it’s place, in the hands of the users. Steve has a passion for understanding the social impact of... more



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