The Gadgets

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More than a quarter of teenagers and a fifth of adults who own a smartphone have admitted using their handset at the cinema or theatre during a performance, a report from the communications watchdog Ofcom has revealed today (4th August).
The research investigated how innovative mobile technology, such as the iPhone and other forms of smartphone, were not only changing the behavioural habits of people, but also changing their views as to what constitutes acceptable behaviour in certain social situations.
Ofcom felt the growing trend for users of technological gadgets to ignore warnings to switch them off while a performance is in progress, and to then expressly use them, raised serious issues in terms of “etiquette and modern manners”.
One of the most interesting aspects of the study revealed that people with older mobile phones were less likely to use their device when they have been asked not to. By contrast, those who had new gadgets, such as the smartphone, were more likely to disregard requests not to use them.
The report discovered that 27 per cent of teenagers regularly use their smartphones in places where they have been expressly asked to turn them off. In addition, 20 per cent of adults questioned who had these devices stated that they were likely to leave their smartphones on and use them discreetly.
Phones interrupting a performance, especially a live performance such as theatre, can have serious repercussions for the actors and audience. The actor Simon Callow revealed that it takes him about an hour to love life his composure after a phone interrupts what is happening on stage.
Perhaps even more worrying is the revelation that 66 per cent of teenagers were “highly addicted” to their smartphones. Half say they use them in the lavatory, while 40 per cent said they answer their phone if it wakes them at night.

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