Is It OK to Use Your Smartphone While Dining in a Restaurant?

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A new survey examines when and where it's appropriate to be on a mobile phone.

Is it OK to chat on your cellphone at the checkout counter? What about sending texts while eating dinner at a restaurant with friends?

According to a new survey by TheStreet and GfK, opinions vary on when and where it’s acceptable to use mobile phones. Overall, young people are more tolerant about cellphone use than their older counterparts, no surprise there.

According to a press release, the results showed that 18- to 49-year-olds are “more accepting of cellphone use than those over the age of 50 when walking down the street, while watching TV, during a work meeting to share information with the group, while eating with others in a restaurant to share information with the group and for personal use and at the movies during previews.”

More than 1,000 people were questioned about specific scenarios as part of the survey.

How’s your cellphone usage? Do you wonder if you’re using proper phone etiquette? Check out these survey findings:

  • Store checkout. Just 34 percent of respondents said it’s acceptable to use a cellphone while checking out at a store. So it might be best to pay for your purchases and check out before pulling out your phone.
  • Restaurants. Nearly 70 percent of people said it’s not OK to be on the phone while dining with others. Older adults (older than 65) felt even more strongly, with 83 percent saying it’s unacceptable. Nearly one-third of respondents ages 18 to 24 thought it was OK to be on the phone while out to eat. “While that’s still a minority, it is significantly higher than most of the other age ranges,” TheStreet noted.
  • Movie theater. You better check your phone before the lights go down at the theater. Seventy-two percent of respondents said it’s not OK to check your phone during previews. “Once the show starts, if you go to check your phone, may God help you,” TheStreet said. Nearly 90 percent of people said it’s not OK to check or talk on the phone after the movie has started.

“Cell phones are everywhere, and people differ in their opinions of where and when it’s most acceptable to use them, either calling, texting or spending time on the Internet. It’s increasingly becoming a greater part of our lives,” said Chris Ciaccia, technology editor for TheStreet. “From walking on the sidewalks to watching TV with loved ones to being in a work meeting, cellphones are taking time away from older forms of communication as people are on their phones more than ever.”

I don’t like to see people using cellphones at restaurants, unless they’re eating alone. I think it’s incredibly rude. What happened to enjoying a meal and conversation with people face to face?

Do you have any cellphone pet peeves? Where do you think it’s inappropriate to use cellphones? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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