Mobile phone etiquette: Is it ok to use your smartphone at the cinema, in church, at a meeting?

Clara Guibourg
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Is this okay? (Source: Getty)

How do you feel when co-workers take a phone call during a meeting? What about when someone plays Candy Crush throughout your commute?

Your answer to these questions may reveal more about your age than you think, after a new study on mobile phone etiquette from the Pew Research Center showed there are huge gaps between what millennials and baby boomers think of using phones around others.

Read more: Britain's now a smartphone nation

A cool 98 per cent of people aged 18-29 brought out their phone at some point during their most recent social event, with 82 per cent saying they read a message at some point.

But for those aged 65 and above, this figure came only to 23 per cent.

Given they're always glued to their own phones, it's perhaps unsurprising that younger adults also tend to be more tolerant about others using their smartphones in a range of different places - some of them rather surprising.

Is it okay to bring out your phone at the cinema to reply to a text mid-film? What about taking a call when you’re at a restaurant?

Regardless of age, most of those surveyed agreed it was okay to use your phone while walking down the street, or on their commute.

But when it comes to hauling out your smartphone somewhere more unconventional, such as during a church service, young adults are 10 times as likely as their elders to say that its “generally ok”.

But what does all this mean for our social skills?

Despite mobile phones becoming always present for most, regardless of the situation we’re in, many do feel they’re interfering with their social interaction, as 25 per cent agreed that when they used their phone around others, it took some attention away from the people they were with.

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