Study: Smartphone Users More Oblivious To Others

By Derek Abma, Postmedia News May 15, 2012 Comments

Users of smartphones, such as iPhones and BlackBerrys, have a different sense of privacy and of the appropriateness of public cellphone usage compared to users of more traditional mobile devices, a study shows.

Researchers from Tel Aviv University drew these conclusions after studying the attitudes of about 150 people in Israel.

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Eran Toch, from the school’s department of industrial engineering, said in statement that smartphone users tend to have an illusion of being in a “privacy bubble” when using their devices in public.

More talking in public

The research found that people with smartphones were 70 per cent more likely than those with less advanced cellphones to think their devices gave them a fair degree of privacy when using them in public.

Smartphone users were also 20 per cent less likely to think talking on their devices in public bothered other people, and 50 per cent less inclined to be annoyed by other people using their phones, the study found.

Toronto tech-trend analyst Alan K’necht, a partner at Digital Always Media, said such cultural tendencies found in the Israeli study also hold true in Canada.

“I see it all the time,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard conversations, thinking, ‘You shouldn’t be having that conversation at the grocery store or on the street corner.’ ”

Tech-savvy generation

K’necht said it’s probably not so much that certain types of cellphones transform people’s personalities, but those predisposed to react to phone calls, emails and texts right away are more attracted to smartphones. He added that a higher proportion of young people have smartphones than older people, and that could be a factor in the study’s findings.

“There’s a generation that has grown up very tech savvy and has this sense of immediacy and response, and the only way to do that is to respond immediately — take the call in meetings, respond to texts and tweets and emails on the fly.”

Another of the study’s authors, Tali Hatuka from Tel Aviv University’s geography department, suggested that public spaces be re-designed in such a way that there are designated areas for phone usage, and other areas where it’s not allowed.

K’necht said it might be worthwhile to have more phone booths in public spaces, such as restaurants, where people bring their own phones.

“If the venue wants to provide the old-fashioned phone booth where you can go and sit down in a little cubbyhole and chat, there might be a marketing opportunity,” he said.

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Via Postmedia News
Photo by FaceMePLS

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