Everybody Hates When You Use Your Phone at Dinner

2 minute read

It’s official: using your cell phone during a family dinner is frowned upon by pretty much everybody.

A new survey by Pew Research Center found that 88% of respondents believe it’s “generally” not OK to use a cell phone during dinner. An even larger percentage, 94%, say cell phone use is inappropriate during meetings, while 95% say they shouldn’t be used at theaters and 96% say they shouldn’t be used during religious services.

Overall, 82% of respondents say that using a phone in social settings hurts conversations, at least occasionally. However, that fact isn’t stopping people from whipping out their devices. 89% of respondents said they had used their phone during their most recent social gathering, most often to read a text or email, take a photo or send a text.

Pew surveyed 3,000 adults for the study.

There are some contexts in which people think phone use is appropriate. 77% of those surveyed said using a phone while walking down the street is “generally OK.” 75% said phone use is fine on public transportation, and 74% said using a phone is OK while waiting in line.

Men are generally more likely to approve the use of cell phones in social settings than women. Smartphone owners are also more likely to deem the practice appropriate than non-smartphone owners. And unsurprisingly, younger adults have less qualms about using phones in social contexts than older adults do. But even among adults aged 18 to 29, only 16% say it’s OK to use your phone at family dinner. So stop doing that.

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