The following essay is what I wrote as an assignment of an English school AEON.
Topi: Cell phones and social etiquette
Among many alleged manners for cell phones or smartphones, the most vocal one in these days might be “do not use your cellphone/smartphone while you are walking on the street”. It is absolutely true that looking at the screen of a cellphone/smartphone during your walk is quite dangerous not only for you, but also for others whom you may jostle. Some of smartphone applications, however, require users to watch the screen while they are walking. The most typical one is Google Map. Many people (including myself) use the app to find destinations when they are lost in unfamiliar areas. Some may argue that we should use the “vocal guidance” function so that we do not need to look at the screen. For many others, however, it is inevitable to look at the screen even with some vocal guidance since the app is named “map”. And a map is to look at while we are walking. In the past, when we had no cellphone/smartphone, nobody said that we should not look at a paper map while we were walking. The difference between the old information system and the new one is, just the number of people who use it. People did not always have maps in the past, but now most of them have smartphones and they use them almost all the time while they are awake.
From this example, we can argue that we should think more how to solve the addiction to smartphone than to expect good manners for smartphones. For many young people, the first thing to see in the morning after they woke up and the last thing to see before they fell asleep are the same thing, their smartphones. When I travelled in China in last September, what shook me most was the fact that many young engineers with whom I had a lunch one day started to check their smartphones as soon as they finished eating. At this point of change in personal behavior, we should intensively study potentially negative impacts to human health for both body and mind.
As a conclusion, smartphone addiction is quite a serious problem and to consider good smartphone etiquettes is quite useless without thinking of possible solutions for this addiction.