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Should Cell Phones Be Banned in Public?

The European Commission recently ruled that cell phones could be used on airplanes flying over Europe. Meanwhile, back on the ground, countries and cities are creating no cell phone zones, otherwise known as "Zen Zones."

Passengers on France's high speed railway enjoy cell phone free travel. Austria's second largest city now requires public transit riders to keep their phones on silent.

Is it possible to silence banal cell phone chatter and annoying ring tones, or are laws that aim to regulate human communication futile? Should there be a legal mandate that public space is for texting only? Feel free to share the conversations you've overheard!


Join The Conversation
Silverlining10 Silverlining10 9 years
Being on the phone makes people thoughtless, and I am SO SICK of being stalled behind a slow car with a jerk on the phone; a person taking forever to order because they're taking orders from a person on the phone or chatting and being unobservant; and hearing people's boring conversations everywhere I go. People don't even talk quietly...They're so loud, I can't even think to myself.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I use my cell phone more often than the land line in my office. I am out on sales calls so much, that if I didn't talk on the cell, I would never get any new business done. Having said that, cell phone conversations need to be brief and to the point.
citizenkane citizenkane 9 years
No! People just need to use better manners and common sense.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
You know when I'm riding on the bus and I can hear every word from a telephone conversation in the back of the the front of the bus that's ridiculous. I know everyone on that bus wishes that person would shut up or at least be discrete about their conversation but no one likes to put themselves on the spot and be confrontational about it. That's why I think people should get into the practice of responding in numbers when they know with out a doubt that there is a situation like the one I described where you know everyone is thinking the same thing. Speak up and get them to respond with you because you know their thinking the same thing.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
hypnoticmix I couldn't agree with you more about the reality shows and how everything is drama drama drama. And how people need to show some discretion and a little shame wouldn't hurt either. I do not watch reality shows for that very reason that is not reality to me. I do own a cell phone I have never used even half the minutes allotted to me during a month. The only reason I have it is for emergency situations - if I'm out in the car either alone or with the chilren and something happens it's easy for me to contact someone for help. I've only had to use it for emergencies a small handful of times thank goodness, but to me it's good insurance. I certainly don't think anyone should or should not own a cell phone - the only thing I think people "should" do is what works best for them and their family.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I dont own a cell phone because I dont need one, and every person I tell this who has one says "good dont get one" Overheard a conversation at Publix last night girl probably 21-23 wearing pink flip flops, pink workout pants with white stripe, grey shirt that was so tight i could see her belly button ring "what should i bring? whats that? Mimosas? whats in them? orange juice and beer?" I stood there, thinking "shes joking right? its champagne not beer fracking idiot" "what kind of beer, that sounds so good" and off i went.....
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Well first of all I hate cell phones for technical reasons they suck that's why I don't own one. But I feel as it relates to the article that cell phones aren't the problem peoples discretion is. I have had it up to here, and I'm 6'3", with hearing peoples dirty laundry, sex life, who's daddy beat who's mama, etc. People need to learn to be discrete and yes, have just a smidgen of shame. On the other hand it's also hard to blame young people mostly for doing this because look at the mass media culture that surrounds them. The reality shows they watch religiously are all about drama drama drama. Making drama trendy was not a good idea especially if I have to sit next to some loud mouth teenager cursing and talking about how he tossed that B!+(# last night.
kymmeisme kymmeisme 9 years
This, like a lot of other issues, is not just a black or white deal. I believe cell phone usage should be regulated in cases where it has a significant impact in the situation you are in. For example, restricting cell phone usage in cars because of safety concerns, movie theaters because of the nature of viewing movies, and whenever you are being waited on in a store or restaurant because if you're on a cell phone- how are you supposed to communicate with the other person serving you? But to just outlaw cell phone usage in public places like the middle of a store just because the person on the phone may be highly irritating? I really WISH it could happen, but that's more of an issue of being taught good cell phone etiquette then using laws and force.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
To Nickey, while the original purpose of cell phones was to be able to be reached while out in public (or more specifically while not in the office), many people today use cell phones 100% of the time and don't even have a land line in their home. As to the article - I agree with Cine and redegg. It would be even nicer if people just had more common courtesy these days then we wouldn't even have to have this conversation. Just a thought though, I do think the government should be able to ban cell phone use while driving, or put conditions on it (like with a hands free piece of equiment). I know some states/cities have already implemented this. I think people are too quick to want to make laws banning things. If it causes a danger to society then it should probably be considered. I do hate the consistent cell phone talkers in public though. One day at a bookstore some guy was on his phone and it was almost like he was intentionally speaking loud so other people could hear him, the nature of the conversation sounded that way too, he was doing alot of name dropping and big dollar figures - I really wondered if someone was actually on the other end of the line lol... it was probably more for show than for necessity. I kind of feel sorry for people like that.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
First, I would like to know how many germs and bacteria are on the phone of a toliet user. Sometimes, I really hate hearing conversations. I try not to listen and try to drown out with earphones but seriously, some people talk like they are at home - LOUD. I understand you can have a short convo but I have a woman who holds a convo during the whole morning communte. She is loud, sits at that beginning of the bus and I can hear her still at the middle of the bus. I am astonished how people air their dirty secrets for everyone to hear. Sometimes I laugh when they laugh just because it's funny too.
genvessel genvessel 9 years
airport lobbies are a pet peeve of mine as well. i had to listen into a girl talk about her ... wait for it... herpes outbreak (!!!) for about ten minutes once. party foul! i wish there could be some sort of mandate where people can use their cell phones in public for ... you know... things that matter or quick phone calls. at the same time... there are times i get calls from friends overseas and i do not want to miss talkign to them simply because i am on a bus. so i suppose that i am torn. and wish people were just generally more considerate and decent.
littlemissme littlemissme 9 years
littlemissme littlemissme 9 years
No I don't think they should. But it is extremely irritation hearing someone on the buss talking on and on about what they did this weekend and with whom and what they are going to buy for dinner! Plus most of these "big talkers" speak ridiculously loud to make sure EVERYBODY here's what they have to say. :oy: :rant:
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
i think it's a bit silly, althought people should learn to be more respectful and speak in a lower tone. i don't think you can regulate annoying people. There were some girls in a dressing room next to me this weekend. (one was on the phone talking to a friend of the other three) I learned everything about them. they were from DALLAS and thought AUSTIN was a SLOPPY place with lame shopping. and "I tried on those True Religion shorts and they were $150. I didn't get them but I think I might go back and get them. and blah blah. The convo was entirely about expensive things, and what car they rode in to get there, and why can't people here dress up like they do in Dallas? It's soooo lame." so... go back to Dallas!
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
They have banned cell phone use on the NJ transit buses. On the topic at hand I don't think the government should be able to ban cell phone use, but a private company has the choice to allow cell phones or not.
Nickey Nickey 9 years
Well, isn't the point of having a cell phone to be reached when in public? I understand that you don't want to hear a person's conversation, but I say just tune them out. Some places are definitely inappropiate like the movies, in the bathroom, the library, or if driving without a hands free device, but they do have quiet cars on public transport for a reason. I say use those and get over it.
redegg redegg 9 years
I would love this to happen but I don't think it is realistic and I would view it as a violation of freedom if all cell phone use on public transportation was prohibited. The Acela fast train to NY has 1 quiet car with no cell phones which is great. Maybe that would work for regular "T" trains. Zen zones sound nice because you could enter and leave them as you please.
Bisque Bisque 9 years
I'm not bothered much by it, although I'm used to having my phone in silent mode (I've never been bothered by someone's loud conversation in public transportation because it has never happened) because it's a class policy, and I'm too lazy to change it even in summer break. :P
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
OMG Jadore, we have a toilet-talker here at work - it's SO obnoxious and weird. I am definitely in favor of having "no cell-phone" zones in certain areas. I like how there's a "quiet coach" on the train, where I don't have to listen to I'm-so-important-I-can't-miss-a-call business people at 6:00 a.m. conduct practically a meeting from the train or other randoms talking about stuff I really don't want to know about. Once there was a woman (who besides flicking her pashmina into my open book) on a bus who spent the entire 45 min. journey into work gabbing away in front of me. The rest of the bus ws entirely silent. It was a conversation that went like this "What are you doing? Me? Oh nothing, I'm just on the bus. Yeah, the bus. Mmm hmm ... yeah that's what I told him before, I was like, ..." and on ... and ON ... AND ON ... I put my iPod in but even that couldn't drown out her voice (plus I have those silencer-type in-ear buds). Of course, I'd just be happy when people stop talking on their phones while driving. They don't do it here in the UK, but when I went home to the States in January, I nearly got into three accidents because each time, the person was talking on the phone while driving and 1) backed up without looking and didn't stop even when people honked 2) changed lanes without looking or signalling and 3) ran a stop sign. Ok, rant over. :rant:
jadoremondieu jadoremondieu 9 years
I think it depends, like most regulations and laws, on how enforceable it is, what the penalties are if you break the rule/law/regulation and how much people respect the rule(s). If people think the rules are valid, they'll obey it and there's less need for enforcement (along with all the resources that enforcement obviously takes - people, tax-payers' money, etc). In this scenario, I'm not sure what the 'respect' of law generally or on this topic is in Europe compared to the US is, but I know if they were to introduce something similar here in Australia, people would be annoyed and not agree with the law trying to interfere with something that seems so trivial, that they would ignore the rule unless it was strongly enforced and strict penalties apply. Hey, I come across as the total nerd that I am. Tragic! Sorry, Liberty, no interesting overheard conversations to report; I tend to listen to my ipod AND read a novel while travelling on public transport, so I'm pretty oblivious.. =) Although... don't get me started on people using their phones while in public toilets. PUH-LEASE!
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