The new age of digitization and wonderful electronics, has been here for a while .The apps connected to it and the accompanying social media platforms, have changed our lives overnight. However it has changed our lives, and not in a good way.

A couple of evening ago, with some single malt and a couple of cigars. A friend of mine, told me about a dinner engagement he had with some colleagues in Dubai. They were sitting at their table, every person mobile in the hand, with no conversation, every person in his own world. Unfortunately I could not say this is something new to me, as my children was born mobile in the hand. At various times I threatened to throw it in a bowl of water, if they keep on using it at the table. They knew it was an idle treat, because mobiles, especially smartphones are damn expensive. The doyen of manners on South Africa, Mrs. Emsie Schoeman is also silent on this issue, however you cannot hold her responsible as, and the normal phone was only in its infancy, when she taught us manners and morals.

In a work environment, at least, there are some specifics, with mobile phones on silent during meetings and, the same with movies, performances and some formal functions .However the ringing off a mobile phone, and the owner of that mobile going in an epileptic fit to switch it off, is un fortunately common to us. The same can be said for golf courses and various other sporting events.

To make it even worse today, is that telephone communication is not the main culprit, but data is. Because it does not make a sound, people belief it is reasonable to answer on a text or e-mail or whatever messaging system being used. It is made worse by social media in the form of twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The biggest crime, in my opinion, is the people who text while driving a vehicle, and believe me, I am on my bike, every second person or persons are guilty of it.

The problem being enlightened, what is the answer?

Driving a vehicle while texting, should be fined in the heaviest way possible, and I include losing your vehicle. But what is the most appropriate way of going around with your mobile phone. It is a more difficult answer than first thought. It has all to do with the speed and pace of the world around us. To get a proper way of using mobile equipment, I think the first thing to answer is the following. Are you working or in a work environment or not? If the question is yes, then a whole set of specific rules should be in place, with more leeway given to the usage of such equipment.

If the answer is no, it is even more important than a set of manners should be in place to govern modern manners. My personal opinion is that in a social environment a mobile piece of equipment should be silent, with the only exception, that you make check it when you go to the bathroom. This opens a new can of worms, with some people staying in the bathroom for hours on end. So it is clear my idea needs a lot of input and tinkering. I really do believe the usage of mobile equipment should be studied, and a proper set of manners and morals should start to be used in our environments. It would be difficult, lots of self-discipline should accompany it. But it is something that is really needed in the new world we live in.

For now, the age-old saying should help us to make the right choices regarding mobile usage. Do to others what you want to do to you. That should form the foundation of our mobile manners, and should stand us in good stead!



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