Intel Study Finds Mobile Etiquette Lacking

The majority of Americans have seen boorish behavior with mobile devices and the number of incidents is growing.
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Nearly all Americans have seen unmannerly behavior in the use of mobile devices in public and the majority believe the rudeness is getting worse, a survey released by Intel shows.

The poll conducted by research firm Ipsos on behalf of the chipmaker found that more than nine in 10 U.S. adults have seen their compatriots use mobile devices in a way that bothers other people. Making matters worse is the lack of sensitivity among mobile devices users. Three-quarters of Americans say the boorishness has increased from a year ago.

Intel paid for the study because the company is as interested in the way people use technology as it is in the processors it makes to drive the latest PCs, tablets, and smartphones. The actual use of technology determines the direction the company takes with its products.

"At Intel, we try to start with people first -- we ask questions about who they are and what they care about," Genevieve Bell, head of interaction and experience research, at Intel Labs, said in a statement. "We use this research and our understandings about what people care about to help make technology even better."

The latest survey shows that people are still learning when it comes to civility and the use of their relatively new electronic gadgets. The majority of Americans have seen people using a mobile phone while driving or talking on one loudly in a public place.

More than nine in 10 Americans have seen others use their gizmos in an unusual place, such as behind the wheel of a vehicle, in a public restroom, a movie theater, and even on a honeymoon. Nearly a quarter of U.S. adults have seen someone using a laptop while driving.

The upshot of this impoliteness is that nearly three in four Americans believe bad mobile etiquette is leading to a new form of public rage, much like road rage where people have become violent over someone's boorish driving. Fully 65% of U.S. adults acknowledge becoming angry around people showing disrespect toward others when using mobile devices.

Many people admitted to their own discourteousness. Nearly one in five survey respondents admit to their own impertinence when using a mobile device, saying they continue to behave badly because everyone else is doing it.

The latter finding reflects how people are not yet sure what's acceptable behavior and what isn't. "New digital technologies are becoming a mainstay in consumers' lives, but we haven't yet worked out for ourselves, our families, communities, and societies what all the right kinds of behaviors and expectations will be," Bell says. "Our appropriate digital technology behaviors are still embryonic."

Ipsos surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults, ages 18 and older, from Dec. 10, 2010, to Jan. 5, 2011. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.