Rude behavior linked to cell phone usage
Rude behavior linked to cell phone usage
A. Attention Getter:
B. Thesis Statement:
C Preview of Main Points in a sentence or two)
A. Statement 1 or complaint #1
B. Statement 2 or Complain # 2
C. Statement 3 or complain # 3
A. Opening sentence
B. restate main complains
Compulsive cell phone users leave others feeling confused, trapped, disrespected,
and angry. These users are often feeding their own ego at the expense of others.
Telephone booths were invented for a reason. The first ones were made of beautiful
hardwoods and often had plush carpet on the floor. They were placed in railroad
stations, fancy hotels and banks for the sole purpose of providing privacy for the
There was a door to keep others away during the conversation and a window to let
others know the booth was occupied. It was a wonderful way to have a private
transaction in a public place without involving a third person in a two-way call.
Private Conversations in Public Places Irritate Others
The days of phone booths are long gone, of course, but people haven’t stopped
having the need to talk privately in public. Cell phones have become pervasive in
our society and have many social implications. There are four main reasons why
bystanders and observers have a negative response to these kinds of conversations
Others are Confused by Cell Phone Conversations in Public
One of the most disturbing elements of cell phone use is the “absent presence”
described by Lisa Kleinman of the University of Texas School of Information. She
writes “When technology use occurs, the individual can become an absent presence
to the group, removing themselves from the context of shared group behaviors to
become involved in a virtual world that is not available to those around them.
Depending on group norms, this individual use of technology signals a particular
social message and has implications …”
Observers, listeners and bystanders often get confused and wonder “Is he talking to
me?” It is disconcerting to say the least.
Others Often Think Cell Phones are Being Used as Ego-Builders
To some observers, people who carry on loud phone conversations in public are just
showing off. They seem to project a “baffling sense of entitlement”, according to
anthropologist Dr. Robbie Blinkoff, and offer the public appearance of emotional
fulfillment. They come across as self-important jerks who are advertising their own
worth, status and/or desirability, depending on the portion of the conversation the
observer can hear.
Alternately, some people perceive rude cell phone users as overgrown babies who
are attached to their phones like a security blanket or pacifier. In any case, when
someone disengages from reality to talk on the phone, he violates an everyday sense
of normal behavior, which leaves everybody around him feeling violated.
Others Feel Trapped and Controlled by Cell Phone Conversations
Disembodied talk by someone else on a cell phone makes almost anybody feel
trapped and controlled by a passive-aggressive person. If the private conversation
they are forced to listen to then turns into the ego-building sort of social transaction
mentioned above, they are likely to suffer emotional damage as a result. The
unwilling listener usually has limited options for escaping from or shielding himself
from the conversation. He feels like an interloper in a private sphere and often looks
around for an alternate activity or conversation.
Others Feel Unimportant When Interrupted by a Cell Call
Observers generally feel suspended, ignored or dismissed when someone’s phone
rings. They feel disrespected and worthless. They feel that they have been invaded
and disengaged from the public sphere through no fault of their own. Having been
given a technological cold shoulder, the person who was relegated to the bottom of
the social importance scale now feels worthless and will react with either anger or
shame, depending on a number of factors. Since there is usually no escape from this
kind of situation, his self-esteem plummets and the “flight or fight” reflex is
Talking on a cell phone while in the presence of others involves juggling two
parallel social contexts. This often causes cognitive overload as well as social
consequences for the user. The cell phone conversation disturbs the real-life
situation more than the situation disturbs the conversation. Musical ringtones, loud
voices, distracted talkers, inattention blindness and compulsive checking for text
messages are all distressing to those in the real-life situation.
Cell phone users are not interacting with the world around them and often believe
that the world around them isn’t really there. This leads to the passive-aggressive
stance that the real world shouldn’t intrude on their right to disengage from it. Many
cell-yellers and other rude cell phone users are actually oblivious to the reactions of
others and blind to their own faults. What the rest of us can do about it is the topic
of another article.
Kleinman, Lisa. “Connecting with the absent presence: pervasive technology use
and effects on community”, CHI Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in
Computing Systems, 2004.
Wei R, Leung L. “Blurring public and private behaviors in public space: policy
challenges in the use and improper use of the cell phone” Telematics and
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