Surveys conducted in five countries have revealed that peoples' perception of cell phone use is strongly affected by factors like age, gender, employment status, and country.
Researchers at San Francisco State University and the University Paris-Dauphine said that they surveyed hundreds of individuals in Finland, France, Italy, Turkey, and the USA.
Telling about their findings, the researchers revealed that the French individuals they surveyed did not mind if people around them sent text messages while walking.
The researchers also found that the Finns were not in favour of banning cell phones while driving, while the subjects in Turkey said that they were quite happy for people to use their phones in class.
Where Italians were the most annoyed by people taking on their phones at the theatre, Americans would mind that the least.
The study also revealed that Italian respondents would be the least perturbed by the loss of their cell phone, while Americans and Turks would be the most concerned about it.
Lead researchers Robert Nickerson and Brenda Mak said that studying cell phone use might help obtain significant insights into how new technologies affected society because mobiles had become almost ubiquitous, and could be used any time and anywhere.
The researchers highlighted the fact that the flexibility of the cell phone for holding conversations, sending and receiving email and texts, listening to music, watching videos, and carrying out various computing tasks made them at once very useful for the user, and correspondingly annoying and even hazardous in some situations for other people.
They also said that cell phone conversations, ringtone sounds, and device key clicks were some of the annoyances that other people near the user may perceive.
In a medical setting or on air transport, too, there are issues of safety to consider, the researchers added.
Based on their observations, the researchers came to the conclusion that organizations could avoid a negative impact on their goodwill by understanding the social impact of cell phone use, and how it varies in different social settings and from country to country.
The study will be published in the International Journal of Mobile Communications.