Regulation: The Do’s and Don’ts of media use


We encounter regulation signs everywhere we go. Signs all over the roads telling us what speed to drive, signs on streets and in car parks telling us we can only park here for one hour in the middle of the day, signs in restaurants and bars telling us not to smoke in the area.

Admittedly there are many of signs that we don’t pay a lot of attention to. Obviously road signs are of more importance to us than others, including signs about the use of media in public spaces. The other day I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room on my phone only to look up and see a ‘No mobile phone use’ sign on the wall opposite me. Looking around the waiting room, there were only one or two people who weren’t on their phones.

Why don’t we pay attention to these signs about phone usage when we’re out in public and abide by regulations? I believe that society pays attention to signs when we know the consequences of not abiding by the rules and are aware of the dangers or threats in certain environments. It is well-known that radio signals from phones can be detrimental at petrol stations and spark flames, therefore there is limited, if any, phone use from customers. Phone use is also not allowed on planes, in cinemas and in hospitals where the signals may interrupt the functioning of medical technology, such as pacemakers. In a doctors waiting room, however, there is unclear reason as to why people can’t use their phones.

In situations where the reason not to use your phone is unclear, it is more of an issue of appropriateness than anything else. Mobile phone etiquette is something that parents will now have to teach their children, being so prevalent, and there are certain environments or times when it is not polite to be on your phone, however this is not conclusively stated. For example,  it’s polite to keep your phone in your purse or pocket during a wedding reception. however it is not completely banned.

Regulations around technology are necessary due to the sheer prevalence of technology in our lives. The majority of signs are negative, telling us what not to do. With signs telling us not to use technology in certain environments without proper enforcement but merely as a prompt it suggests that we are still trying to separate technology and media in some aspects of our lives and preventing it from seeping into everything that we interact with.

The artistic world is one where mobile phone use is frowned upon or simply not allowed. Art galleries discourage the use of phones and don’t allow pictures to be taken for copyright reasons. If attending a talk from someone the same rules in cinemas apply. Interestingly, there is a growing number of musical artists who are addressing mobile phone use at live concerts and performances.

It is commonplace to see the moshpit filled with cellphones raised high up in the air to record the experience. People have now even started bringing iPads, thus these devices are creating a blockage of technology between the audience and the performers. People hold varying views about this increase of technology at concerts. It’ is normal to wish to document an amazing experience or share it with friends, however if you’ve paid that much for a live concert you should soak up the experience and for once enjoy music without the presence of technology.

One of a few celebrities beginning to place locks on phones at concerts, Alicia Keys provided special pouches for her audience to each lock their phone whilst attending her performance.

Matt Corby also made a point against the use of technology when attending a live concert during an interview:

In this case, the artists definitely have a point. Our iPhones should not be preventing connection between audiences and an experience. In a technology obsessed culture, rules and regulations surrounding technology are justified in assisting us to live in the moment and experience something ourselves rather than through a screen.


Pokemon Go Home: Public Phone Usage

People using their phones out in public is nothing new and has increased largely in terms of social acceptance. Ten years ago it was rude to have your mobiles out while involved in a conversation. Now we all hold our phones in our hands when we’re socialising, even at formal events like weddings.

This normalcy and frequency of public phone usage is changing the world’s social landscape. Technology is seeping into every form of socialisation and group activities, replacing verbal exchange between parties by locking our eyes and attention to a screen. Where before dinner was strictly no screens allowed, the television now plays in the background while we eat at the table in silence. Particularly noticeable in the younger demographic, we now get together at cafe’s with a group of friends and all sit scrolling through Facebook.

Our lives can seemingly be lived through our phones, with an app happy generation progressively finding an app for pretty much everything. Tinder was a real break through in what-the-fuck-is-society-turning-into technology. Never fear awkward encounters, small talk about the weather or actually chatting to a real life human: now we have an app for when you’re horny so you can basically shop for a hook-up. Add to cart. Swipe left. Or right. I don’t know. That’s going straight in my basket.

We all knew the progression of our technology crazed society would bring some pretty stupid innovations; enter Pokemon Go where you *Go* around chucking balls at things. Get it? Because it’s Pokemon on-the-go. Genius. Make no mistake, it’s all virtual; anyone with real balls probably doesn’t play this dumb-ass game.

First off, here’s some stats to educate ourselves about this goldmine of an app (Expanded Ramblings 2016)

  • On its busiest day Pokemon Go had 25 million users
  • 60% of users are male, 40% female
  • The Japanese police issued 727 tickets for Pokemon Go related offences within the first two weeks of its release
  • Users have walked an estimated 4.5 billion kilometres catching Pokemon
  • There are a currently estimated 30 million users

Congrats, Pokemon Go developers. Your app has successfully sent humans chasing after little animals that look like various forms of the numbered experiments from Lilo & Stitch over the farthest distance Neptune has ever been from the sun. Apart from that there is little evidence to have us believe it has done much more.

In an argument for Pokemon Go, the app aims to meld the virtual world with the physical by bringing the game into the natural environment and getting everyone outside to breathe in the fresh oxygen. What a feat. However, instead of going somewhere and soaking in the view, Pokemon Go makes you look at the scenery that you’re standing in on the screen in front of you, completely defeating the purpose of venturing outside.

On that same note, before Pokemon Go we were at least keeping morons with technology indoors. Now they’re running around outside where there are people trying to do actual things.Our favourite cafes and hang outs are being turned into Poke` stops with people milling around, taking up all the seats, blocking all the entrances and generally disrupting the peace as they break their phone screens in an attempt to win whatever the hell the prize is. Peel your eyes away from your Pikachu’s and observe the following behaviour that is consistent pretty much everywhere amongst Pokemon Goers:

The game is pretty much one giant accident waiting to happen. On a lovely spring day I decided to soak up the sunshine and was jogging past a Poke` hot spot only to be rebuffed by a large group of idiots with their heads down, eyes on their phones and blocking the entire pathway. Another day I was driving along to see a man cycling down the side of the road right near the same hot spot, swiping away on his phone as cars drove right beside him. Do not Pokemon and pedal, kids. There’s already been a ridiculous amount of car accidents with people stopping unexpectedly, jumping out of vehicles and swerving onto the opposite side of the road in their attempt to ‘catch them all’. The only thing catching here is idiocy. Before we know it people will be wading into oceans and walking off cliffs after these little monsters. I see a law suit on the horizon.

It’s a sad day where someone says “gym” and you’re not sure if they mean fitness or trying to battle someone for a Pokemon. Rest assured if someone starts creeping on you in public with their phone as if they’re filming you, you’re probably sitting on Poliwag, or Poliwhirl, or Poliwrath. Until the next craze, ya’ll have fun flinging fireballs at imaginary creatures while we take a serious look at what the world has become.


Smith, Craig 2016, Pokemon Go Statistics, Expanded Ramblings, viewed 20th September 2016