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

D. closing

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

Informatics, 1999


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