Every time a new technology in communications is unveiled it changes society in some ways. So new rules have to be created for using the new devices. Mobile phones have revolutionized the way the world communicates. But there is a flip side to this invention. Too often we see people talking loudly on their mobile phones blissfully unaware that they are causing a disturbance to those around them.
Nobody wants to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations but we find ourselves doing precisely this though due to no fault of our own. Just like there are certain rules defining online behavior there are certain rules to be followed when using a mobile phone.
It is not polite to talk on the mobile phone in a cinema hall, concert hall or hospital for instance. The phone should be kept on silent or vibrator mode if necessary, and if one has to talk, it is better to go out and do it. Radio waves are believed to cause interference with heart pacemakers and other medical devices. So it is better not to use it in a hospital.
It is considered a violation of public etiquette when people answer their phones in certain public places, and due to the Internet connectivity, spam has become a more widespread problem. Talking on a cell phone while travelling by train is considered rude in Japanese culture. In India it is very common and nobody frowns on such things.
School and college students in India carry mobile phones. Some schools have banned this because it distracts other students. One should not talk on the cell phone while driving either. People drive slowly or don’t look where they are going which causes accidents. Many people in India have been mowed down by trains when walking on the tracks, thanks to the mobile phone.
Playing games on the mobile phone or messaging when someone is trying to have a conversation with you is also quite rude. Keep cell phone conversations brief if you have company. Before a meeting begins it is polite to announce that you are expecting a call and seek permission for it.
Trying to take photographs of a person without their knowledge or consent on our mobile phones is wrong. Some men do this to intimidate women. In the Delhi MMS scandal, a schoolboy shared photos of his girlfriend, also a classmate, in indecent postures. In Kerala, some schoolgirls committed suicide for a similar reason.
Such things go beyond bad etiquette. They border on the criminal and invite stringent punishment like imprisonment. Such offensive use of technology is an insult to those who invented such technologies in the first place.