We’ve all been there. You’re leaving the office after a long day, only to see the resident gossip poke his or her head up from the next cubicle, winding up for a long chat. Time for a quick survey: Would you feign a sudden cellphone call to avoid that pointless story?
If you said yes, you’re not alone.
Thirteen percent of those surveyed in a Pew Internet and American Life Project study on mobile phone habits admitted they have “pretended to be using their phone in order to avoid interacting with the people around them.”
Part of me thinks that’s a sad commentary on American civility. Another part of me is surprised the number is so low.
According to the study, Americans use their cell phones for other, more practical reasons as well. Just over half, 51 percent, say that they use their cellphones for getting immediate information to the point where not having it becomes an issue, and 40 percent have used them in emergency situations. Forty-two percent say that they use their cellphones to fight off boredom — perhaps during other people’s pointless stories.
The Pew study also outlined some cellphone frustrations. A fifth of cellphone owners said that they get frustrated with their phones because their download speeds are slow, 16 percent said they have trouble with the small screen and 10 percent said that they’ve had issues entering a lot of text into their phones.
Finally, 29 percent say that sometimes they turn off their phones just to get a moment’s peace.
Now that I can relate to.