It is becoming increasingly acceptable to have and use cell phones and other mobile devices in social situations as more people are choosing to use cell phones than landline phones. The way we view communication and the appropriateness of certain types of communication behaviors is fundamentally changing. We have moved into an era where phone numbers refer to people instead of places. A cell phone is a constant companion that accompanies a peson throughout their daily life and allows them the convenience of easy communication and access to information. This cultural shift to an “always-on” world brings challenges along with the conveniences. Now, when a call is placed to someone on their cell phone, it is fully expected that the call will be answered because most people assume that a cell phone accompanies a person everywhere, regardless of their location. Even if someone is out of town or on vacation, the expectation remains the same because the cell phone is attached to the person rather than a specific place like a home or office. There is no longer any assumption of private time – people are increasingly expected to be accessible at all times, and physical location is no longer of any importance or concern. Problems can arise as the boundaries between per-sonal time and times when people are expected to be available continues to blur. We Need to clearly understand the cultural shift That mobile devices are creating within our society, and work to lessen some of the problems and challenges that it has caused.
While it may have been taboo to take a phone call at our grandparents dinner tables, it seems clear that this is no longer the case in today’s society. People are now expected to respect each individual’s right to withdraw from the social group at any time through their cell phones or other mobile devices. Rosen postulates that sociologist Erving GoffMan would have considered cell phone use a “subordinate activity” that should not be allowed to impose upon the social group as a whole or to overtake the primary activity meaning that face-to-face communication should be respected and other calls should wait until later. We would argue that most people use their mobile devices to communicate in some way with other friends, family members, or colleagues who may not be sitting at the table. The action of communication itself, whether speaking on the phone, text messaging, commenting on Facebook, or updating your geo-location, is actually still a dominant acivity. It is in fact, the same activity that is going on with the people sitting at the table. The difference lies in the fact that we now seem to perceive that proximity does not necessarily dictate our undivided attention. We now see our entire social network of people as equals, regardless of whether we are sitting face-to-face with them or miles away.
It seems quite clear from our sample that younger students are more likely to prefer texting to phone calls or face to face communication, while older students are less likely to prefer texting and send fewer text messages on average per day than their younger classmates. However, older students may feel more obligation to the always-connected world, atleast in terms of work, since more students over the age of 30 have taken at least one work related call while they were on vacation.