Smartphone users have different sense of privacy

Smartphone users have a weaker sense of personal space – both their own and others’ – new research from Tel Aviv University shows.

They are 70 percent more likely than regular cellphone users to believe that their phones give them a great deal of privacy, and more willing to reveal private issues in public spaces. They are also less concerned about bothering the other people around them.

According to Dr Tali Hatuka, smartphone users feel themselves to be in a ‘private bubble’, even in public spaces.

While regular phone users continued to adhere to established social protocol in terms of phone use — postponing private conversations for private spaces and considering the appropriateness of cell phone use in public spaces — smartphone users were much less concerned.

They were 50 percent less likely to be bothered by others using their phones in public spaces, and 20 percent less likely than regular phone users to believe that their private phone conversations were irritating to those around them.

Smartphone users were also much more attached to their mobile devices. When asked how they felt when they were without their phones, the majority of smart phone owners chose negative descriptors such as ‘lost’, ‘tense’ or ‘not updated’.

Regular phone users were far more likely to have positive associations to being without their phones, such as feeling free or quiet.

The next phase of the study will be to use an application called Smart Spaces, which will track where the participants go over a three-week period and how they use their phones while there.

But the researchers believe that – rather than giving smartphone users lessons in etiquette – public spaces should be redesigned, perhaps with designated areas for phone use.