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When are cell phones okay?

September 11, 2015

Folks often complain about others using mobile phones at inappropriate times. On college campuses our students read email in classrooms and colleagues tweet at faculty meetings. But this behavior should come as no surprise. The technology has spread incredibly quickly and it takes time for a society to agree on behavioral norms.

A recent study by the Pew Research Center –Cellphones in public – provides hope that attitudes are coalescing. In all but one of the situations listed on the chart at left at least three of four people agreed on acceptability of cellphone use. In several cases, though, if two couples are out together it’s still likely that one person will see things differently from the others.

I’m no sociologist, but I suspect this is a pretty normal example of the evolution of public opinion.

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