Good Digital Parenting
Blog | May 30, 2013

Social Circles to Social Outcasts: Mobile Manners & Madness

Online Trust and Safety Advocate

There’s little argument that our mobile phones allow us to keep pace with our busy digital lifestyles. And, there seems to be little argument that some folks need a course on mobile manners while staying abreast of these digital demands. From loud talkers, to people who answer their cell phone while you’re in mid-sentence, Microsoft’s Safer Online Facebook Poll, reveals the top pet peeves that are getting under people’s skin. According to respondents, the “Top Five” most selected pet peeves include:

  1. Constant phone checking (44 percent of the respondents included this in their top five)
  2. Loud talkers (41 percent) 
  3. Using or not silencing the phone when appropriate, for instance in social settings (40 percent)
  4. Using the phone during face-to-face conversations (39 percent)
  5. Delaying traffic (35 percent)

Respondents shared with us, a number of entertaining stories; like pocket dialing while singing along to the radio. While this may be simply irritating, or even embarrassing to some, it’s a great example of how you may be doing more than just annoying your social circles. In fact, you could be putting your personal information at risk.

Our Microsoft Safer Online poll found that:

  • Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) said they have lost their mobile phone,
  • Exactly half (50 percent) said they have pocket dialed someone, and
  • More than half (58 percent) have shared their location more often than they should

More often than not, our mobile device has just as much, if not more, personal information on it than our computer. While our poll showed that men and women believe they are equally safe when it comes to their mobile behaviors, we know in reality, this isn’t the case.

According to our Microsoft Computing Safety Index released earlier this year;

Men do a slightly better job using technical features:

  • 35 percent use a “PIN” (personal identification number) or password to lock their mobile device vs. 33 percent of women
  • 35 percent use secured wireless networks compared to 32 percent of women
  • 32 percent keep their mobile device up to date vs. 24 percent of women

Women, on the other hand, tend to be savvier when it comes to protecting their online reputations

  • Women often take additional steps to limit both their personal information online (40 percent vs. 37 percent), and public information on social networking sites (40 percent vs. 32 percent)
  • Women are also more careful about what they put in text messages (34 percent vs. 31 percent).

So what can you do to protect your device, information, and reputation? Consider adding just one of these notable habits and practices to your online routine: 

  1. Lock your phone with a unique PIN or password.
  2. Limit the apps that can access your location, and think before sharing your whereabouts on social media.
  3. Save financial transactions for a secure network, not public Wi-Fi.
  4. Defend your phone against malware with updates and reputable apps.
  5. Know when to silence your phone and be present with others!

You can take the Microsoft Safer Online Facebook poll and find more information about general mobile phone safety at: Or “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay current.

Cover image courtesy of Flickr