How To Avoid Becoming a Tech Etiquette Jerk

The next time you're annoyed by a person speaking too loudly on their phone in public or someone texting during a movie, take heart -- you're not alone. An Intel-sponsored survey recently revealed that mobile and tech etiquette is getting worse and worse, with 25% of US adults reporting they have seen a person using a laptop computer while driving.According to the survey, three-fourths of respondents believe tech etiquette has gotten worse since 2009, and 90% had personally witnessed bad behaviors like texting while driving or using a phone in a public restroom.

A smaller percentage -- just under 20% -- admitted to bad etiquette themselves, but continued "because everyone else is doing it."

The survey attributes some behaviors like checking mobile devices before getting out of bed to the desire to always be connected to friends and family. But there's also elements of brain chemistry at work, with technologies that trigger pleasure-reward centers in the brain, or even addiction.

Some governments are trying to protect us from ourselves by implementing iPod bike bans, and we've written before about how tech can harm our health, with tips for, well, unplugging.

So how to avoid becoming like the folks described in the Intel survey?

Not that our own dear readers need any reminders, because we know you're all paragons of politeness. But it's a hundred small slip-ups that lead to a person from just texting at inappropriate times to using their laptop while driving, so here are a few tips to help you reset to a primary level of courtesy:

  • During working hours, set your phone to be silent -- that means not even vibrate. Check it at lunchtime, if you must.

  • Keep the phone put away when you're in public restrooms, elevators, etc. (Does this even need to be said?)

  • When you're getting ready for a movie, turn off your phone completely, since even receiving a text can light up the screen and be distracting. Better yet, turn it off when you're standing in line for concessions.

  • Consider old-fashioned etiquette rules, like removing one's hat when entering a building; the same should go for headphones or earbuds.

  • Follow the "Crossword Rule" -- ie, if you wouldn't do a crossword there, don't use your tech there.

  • If you see someone violating one of these "rules"…politely ask them to stop.

(Image: Flickr member MarkWallace licensed for use under Creative Commons)

3 Comments