The New Smartphone Etiquette

May 27, 2014
Giora Shenhav


Remember the first time you saw that person in the grocery store yelling and waving their arms as they shopped?  You thought it was weird, you then realized they were on their phone and still thought it was weird (or at least a little rude). In places like California, where we are required to use hands-free devices while driving, this sight is particularly common. It’s now only slightly-odd to see someone walking around with a camera on their face (Google Glass). How far we have come! Despite our progressive view on technology, there are still times when our tech etiquette could use some polishing.

It seems the line between proper etiquette and social ineptitude has become very blurry. What was blatantly rude yesterday is commonplace today.  So does that make talking on our cell phones anywhere okay?  It seems like the rules are changing as we become more connected to our technology.  Some people are coming up with some pretty cool ways to stay courteous. Brian Perez came up with a creative game that keeps friends engaged in conversation instead of on their phones. Here are Brian’s Rules if you want to give it a try too:

1) The game starts after everyone has ordered

2) Everybody places their phone on the table face down

3) The first person to flip over their phone loses the game

4) Loser of the game pays for the bill

5) If the bill comes before anyone has flipped over their phone everybody is declared a winner and pays for their own meal

The topic of cell phone etiquette has been pretty polarizing for restaurant owners too. Former lottery winner, Jawdat Ibrahim, gives his diners 50% off for abstaining from their cells at his Israeli restaurant ABU GHOSH. He believes that, in a small way, his contribution is improving the culture of eating. On the other end of the spectrum is The Picture House, located in the U.K.. The Picture House gives patrons a free meal for posting pics of their meals on Instagram and Twitter.  A “Foodies Eat Free” if you will!

So what is the new etiquette? If you are in the grocery store, it is okay to be on your phone, as long as the conversation you are having  isn’t offensive to others, and you are not checking out. It is rude to the cashier and to other customers who may feel you are slowing down the line, but we have all been there with multitasking and a call we just can’t avoid. A great alternative is the self-checkout. When it comes to dining, the right etiquette depends on where you are and who you are with. I am a believer that when you grab your cell during a meal you are saying ‘this is more important than you’ without saying it.

We talked about places that you are not going to use your phone.  But that doesn’t mean you will be without it.  We are advocating for the self-defense and security capabilities that we will be able to offer with The Defender.  Here are a few places that you will definitely want to have your Defender out. For example: Unfamiliar cities, garages, parking lots, running outside at night,  or walking alone on a college campus.  And that’s just a few examples.  We’d love to hear the places you go where you will definitely carry your Defender.  Let us what you think at Facebook.