Put the Phone Down!

The prevalent use of mobile phones in society is quite obvious to the social observer. Phones are used for countless reasons such as messaging, directions, Facebook, general internet use, and the almost outdated voice calls. With 89% of Australians owning a smart phone, and 60% owning some sort of tablet (Rogers, 2015), these devices are everywhere. Everywhere you look there is someone with their face buried in their phone. (Further device usage statistics can be found here.)

While phones are welcomed in most casual environments where attention isn’t required all the time, such as on public transport, there are many examples of mobile device exclusion zones, where there are written and unwritten rules against the use of such devices. These include the cinema, particular medical centres, such as pathologists, and even the dinner table at my house. Here we see both written and unwritten rules. The cinemas I’ve visited feature a message prior to the movie asking people to switch off their devices as respect for fellow movie-goers. While, at the pathologist I recently visited, a sign was posted on the front bench asking patients to switch off their phone, as they can interrupt testing. While I saw someone using their device in the waiting room, cinemas seem to be different. I think (most) movie-goers turn their phone to silent even without a warning as it is the right thing to do. It is almost a natural thing to do, but at the pathologist the reasons for turning the phone off aren’t quite obvious to some.

Whether these restrictions is enforced is another matter. I think that cinemas will just assume people turn their devices off, but at home this is completely different. Don’t even think about bringing your phone along during diner time at my house as my mum will tell you to turn it off faster than you can put in the pass code. Here is an example of an enforcement of the regulations.

One of my biggest pet peeves are people who talk or text while driving, as they show no respect for other drivers on the road and any passengers also in the car. This is an enforced rule with consequences. The threat of a fine and demerit points is a deterrent for many, but advertising campaigns are also used to reduce accidents involving mobile phones on the road. I have noticed “Get You Hand Off It” posters on the backs of buses which target people who text on their phones when stopped at traffic lights. This is just another example of rules and regulations on a form of media. As shown with the other examples, the enforcement on each is different, as well as the reason for why use is restricted.


Poster seen on the back of buses to attempt to restrict phone use in the car. Source

Somewhat related is the ‘Get your hand off it’ music video which attempts to poke fun at drivers who have excuses for using their phone behind the wheel

These rules and regulation, particularly the ‘no devices at the dinner table’ rule, remove the distraction bought on by mobile phones. In my mind, mobile phones are a way to remove yourself from the situation and are primarily used when bored. Therefore, they should be nowhere to be seen at the dinner table. Attention should be paid to my family members. I find it interesting how we


Emily Rogers, 2015, Survey Sheds Light on How Australians Use Smartphones and Tablets <http://www.hapticgeneration.com.au/survey-tells-us-how-australians-use-smartphones-and-tablets&gt; [Accessed 03 October 15].

Transport NSW, 2013, Get your hand off it. <http://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/campaigns/getyourhandoffit.html#>[Accessed 03 October 15]


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