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Cell phone attitudes

August 27, 2015

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Millennials may not remember a time before mobile phones, so it isn’t surprising their attitudes toward them are more relaxed than those of other generations.

The Pew Research Center released a wide-ranging study on mobile devices this week that is chock full of story ideas. We’ll pluck some more findings in future stories.

But first, here’s what it found about attitudes among young consumers (aged 18-29) about cellphones.

Public transportation. Ninety percent of millennials feel it’s generally okay to use a mobile device on a bus, train or light rail. And, more than half of other generations agreed.

Waiting in line. Eighty-six percent thought that was fine. Again, people older than millennials think chatting and queuing is generally all right.

Walking down the street. Perhaps because they’ve been subject to “Apple picking,” the number of millennials who think it’s okay to walk and talk is actually fewer than people aged 30 to 49. Seventy-eight percent of millennials approve of it; 82 percent of their slight-older counterparts say it’s okay.

In a restaurant. Half of millennials think it’s acceptable. That’s 10 points more than the next generation, and double senior citizens aged 65 and up

At a family dinner. Here, most millennials frown on the practice. Only 16 percent approve of phone use at the table.

At the movie theater. Eleven percent of millennials think it’s all right to talk at a movie. Other generations? Single digits.

Why are millennials so permissive about many phone uses? We’ll be back with those reasons.

For stories, talk to cell phone users in your audience. Do their reactions mirror those of the Pew study? What do restaurant owners and movie theater proprietors think about cell phone use?


  • Micheline Maynard

    Micheline is a contributing columnist at the Washington Post concentrating on business and culture. She has written about flooding in Detroit, tainted water in Benton Harbor, nationwide shortages of restaurant staff, and vaccine hesitancy.

    View all posts

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