When is texting inappropriate?

You’ve probably never sent a text message from a church pew, or while driving, or during a lecture in class. But you’ve seen people do that and more. When is texting inappropriate?

Whenever your attention is respectfully required by others (i.e. While at church, when driving, etc.) -anonymous text message

Texting is inappropriate when driving mainly because it is illegal, but at any other time it is just a extension of your freedom of speech. -Pat, Maplewood, MN

Texting in church! The best use of an otherwise wasted hour. -Jim, Saint Paul, MN

Texting is efficient and important best to do when not talking to another or driving. -Jeff, St. Cloud, MN

Texting is just a tool, and is only inappropriate where inattention of any sort is rude or dangerous. Used appropriately, texting is a great resource! -anonymous text message

Texting, with other new social networking tools, are eroding in-person communication skills to efficient technophiles living through avatars. -anonymous text message

  • Jim

    Texting while driving is: Unnecessary, unsafe, and illegal (as it should be.)

    Texting when you are with other people is simply rude. It says to them: I need to pay attention to this important person on the other end of my cell phone. Same goes for talking on a cell phone when with others. Turn the d****d thing off.

    Texting in a public event (church, concert, assembly) is like the second point, only amplified. Using a cell phone to talk (or even have it ring) is even worse. Turn the d*****d thing off.

    Texting is a significant part of the dumbing-down and loss of civility in discourse in the US. I eschew it almost completely. The only exception is when I need to send an emergency message to someone who can’t take a call at that time. I’ve sent a grand total of three of these in the ten years I’ve had a cell phone.

  • bob

    It’s never appropriate when driving. Sounds like a no-brainer, but unless we put very steep fines and even jail terms on such usage — say, $750 dollars for a first-time offense and/or a month or so in jail, and have relentless enforcement, DWT is here to stay, along with the crashes and carnage that can and will result.

  • Pete

    Texting is a sneaky way to talk to some one. If you are not trying to hide who you are talking to why not just pick up the phone and talk? So much easier than trying to type on a phone pad. I think texting is rude, always, please don’t text me, call me.

  • k

    You know your friends and relatives best to know if they’d mind if you text when you’re around them; and there is a difference between texting all the time, and just answering a text sent to you or sending one out. So a blanket statement that says texting or talking on the phone to anyone else when you happen to be in the company of others is completely rude just sounds out of touch with the reality that is our world today.

    I really don’t care when you do it as long as your actions aren’t putting someone else in danger; so go text happy, just don’t go over your limit. Side note: the companies do charge too much for texting.

    I personally like it for asking my Wife if she would like me to pick up an item at the grocery store, that is if we do not need to discuss the ingredients in one item vs another.

  • jim

    never text wile driving, eating dinner as a family or in class. texting is rude sneaky and lazy.

  • http://www.igiancarlo.com Giancarlo

    Church, lectures, movies, anytime is fine with me… The only times when texting is inappropriate is when you need to provide your undivided attention (e.g., driving, during a conversation, etc.).

    I’ve had the displeasure of being on the phone with someone while they were texting someone else. The other person was obviously distracted and I was constantly hearing their phone click in my ear.

    I don’t condone texting while driving, but I don’t think phones should be outlawed in the car either. Drivers are distracted by a myriad of “devices” like radios, cigarettes, books, food, pets and children (none of which are outlawed).

  • Nicole

    I like texting, it can be a quick way to say; see ya then, or I love you. It is often done inapropriatly though and that would be whenever a normal conversation (on phone or in person) isnt permissable. for example; court, church, work, dinner, school and shoudl never be done while driving.

  • Beth

    Texting is appropriate when communicating directions, appointments, and contacts or references. If there is a piece of important information that I will most likely not retain accurately after a verbal conversation, a written record is welcomed. Text me the date, time and address of an engagement. Text me the name and email of an associate I am to get in contact with.

  • Mel

    Seems that opinions depend on age and length of time having used a cell phone at all. Many younger people text when talking would be considered inappropriate but their undivided attention is not necessary; yet many people with less cellphone experience consider that rude. First they didn’t want to hear people in the elevator, now they don’t even want to see them – what is that?

    The general rule that any activity which requires nearly/totally undivided attention should go on to occur sans text is a rule that seems appropriate to me. Use common sense, but there’s no need to bend over backwards for people who will never be happy about the advance of portable technology regardless of how its being used.

    Disclaimer: I also used to think texting was unnecessary and rude. Now I see that it puts the user in greater control of their social interactions, instead of running to the phone every time it rings or hanging around the answering machine to do end-of-day call backs.

  • P. Paul

    Texting is a significant part of the dumbing-down and loss of civility in discourse in the US.

    Wow. I imagined there were anti-texting people out there, but I had no idea their arguments were so bizarre. It’s sneaky? Rude?

    There are situations that require a phonecall, and situations that can be handled with a short message. Business, social, emergency, whatever. I use phones, SMS, instant messages, and email every day, for different tasks. Get with it.

    I guess I don’t presume at all times to be the most important thing in my friends’ and colleagues’ busy lives. What do I care if they send a quick message? Obviously texting while driving should be illegal (no one’s yet mentioned how more recent touchscreen phones require even more of your visual attention, no typing by keys), but besides that, who cares?

  • Pat Hein

    My husband was a truck driver and texting and cell phone usage were the two main reasons why people were swerving all over the road. He had to slow down many times because some idiot was texting or on the cell phone when they should have been paying attention to the road. Add to that bad road conditions and you have an accident waiting to happen. Do these people realize that they may kill someone texting or using the cell phone? In addition, he said most of the people texting were very young and lacking experience in driving conditions.

  • Jamie

    We shouldn’t even have to be having the texting-while-driving discussion. It’s not just inappropriate, it’s idiotic, irresponsible, selfish, and dangerous. It’s unbelievable that anyone would think it’s an acceptable thing to do.

    It’s inappropriate for any other activity that requires your undivided attention, such as sharing a meal or while working (I’m amazed at the number of younger people who OPENLY text while they’re supposed to be working).

    I’m afraid that this discussion about texting while driving will make a lot of people think that TALKING on the phone while driving is ok, when it is not. Even hands-free talking is very distracting, according to recent research. If I remember correctly, the researcher who was on Midmorning recently said they found that driving while talking on the phone made you 23 times more likely to be in a crash than not talking on the phone. And I know from my own experience on the road in the last several years, that people who are talking on the phone are obviously distracted and make a lot of mistakes — mistakes that have nearly caused crashes with me or other drivers near me. Almost every near-miss I’ve had on the road lately has been with someone talking on a cell phone. Cars should be equipped with those cell-phone-jamming thingies.

  • David T

    Texting during a concert is an insult both to the performers and to the other people in the audience. The glare alone is distracting. Cell phones should be put away.

  • Jen

    It is just plain stupid to text while biking or running! I see it all the time and I cannot understand why.

  • Joanna

    I am a twenty something and still think talking (by whatever means) to someone else while someone is trying to talk to you in person is rude. It tells the other person that they are not worth your time. Some exceptions are texting with the other person’s permission and conducting emergency business. Otherwise, whoever you are texting to can wait.

  • Arielle Weiler

    Besides the dangerous, like while driving or biking, texting is quite rude during conversation. I am always surprised and mildly offended when one of my friends stops mid-thought to respond to a text.

  • Becky

    There’s a difference between plain unsafe and what could be construed as rude.

    ‘Unsafe’ invites few arguments: texting while driving is indubitably unsafe.

    However, what defines ‘rude’ in our society is rapidly changing. As it has many times!

    I think that texting is a lot quieter than gabbing on the phone in a public scenario.

    Perhaps it is time that our definitions of what is acceptable public practice and social decorum needs to widen and change. Perhaps it is time we accept, not merely tolerate, that technology such as text messaging has changed the context and landscape of communication, and thus, the social rules of communication. Perhaps texting will some day become more acceptable in wider contexts.

    That being said, I do think that not paying full attention to the road is unsafe, and not paying full attention to people you’re with is rude, regardless if it’s because of texting or because of eating a roast beef sandwich. It’s not technology that’s to blame for the gradual breakdown of civility, it’s people.

  • Jodie Ahern

    Texting is inappropriate during an intimate interlude. Ha!

  • Random comments from a real person

    Texting is inappropriate when there is a room full of people with stories to share and your only rsponse is to whip out your cell phone and start typing madly to some one who is not even there. To me , this is the height of self absorbtion.

  • Patrick

    Texting is another unfortunate convenience sold to an already neurotic public.

  • Dee

    At your husband’s formal year-end awards banquet, the other guys at the table should NOT be beep-beep-beeping during the CEO’s speech.