Rules and Regulations of Mobile Phones in a Public Space

Businessman using mobile phone, laughing on bus

When people think about the rules and regulations of media, most people’s minds would jump to illegal downloading. Yes downloading is an illegal thing to do but what about other forms of media rules. The Australian Government has many rules in the media under certain acts, which relate to advertising, classifications and complaints for example the Commercial Television Code of Practice. There are also other forms of media regulation whether it be at a work place, in public or just at home and these regulations can be illegal or legal. Most people would agree that there is a common courtesy when it comes to mobile phones in public today. Generally, most people have their keyboards on silent so people don’t hear them clicking away. Longtime users of mobile phones seem to understand this whereas new users don’t. For example, my uncle is still only figuring out phones (like my dad) and only became aware that it is “not cool”, in his words, to have your phone on ‘loud’. Does this show a social fear? Has this one act shaped how we now think about mobile phones in public and rules when it comes to using them? Trying to find current articles on mobile etiquette proved to be a little difficult as the majority were written in 2013. BUT I did come across this fantastic BuzzFeed article, although not academic, it perfectly describes societies feelings towards mobile phone etiquette. I then came across a forum about why in movies and TV shows they have their phones set on vibrate. Has this societal fear of loud phones become a real thing? It really has shaped the place in which we use media, in the public and at home. While these rules are not enforced, they have been learned and have become a natural part of everyday, for some people (excludes obnoxious people on trains). Personally, I don’t think media regulation has to be defined by what is illegal and not, it is about the constraints of media and the use of it in society.

I think the rules and regulations in the work place regarding media are important to look at as well. I have had many jobs with all different leniencies on media use. At my first few jobs, it was easy to sneak my phone out while I was working, but soon my bosses figured it out (not just me by the way) and cracked down on it. Signs hung up around the staff room about how we would get fired if they caught us on our phones. They had lots of security cameras and always watched us. At this place though, the Internet was not blocked so you could basically search any site you wanted. This sometimes changed the dynamic of the workspace, with people becoming more relaxed but still hesitant to break the rules (not enforced but just known).


The next job was MUCH more relaxed. I could be on my phone all the time (for work which entailed using Instagram) and on many fashion news websites (which I usually browse for fun outside of work). There had been no warnings or rules regarding mobile phones in the workplace as it was different to most retail jobs I had had. I felt a much different feeling from being in a place like this just coming from somewhere so strict. I felt like I was breaking rules, but I wasn’t. Currently my position is in retail so mobile phones on the floor are a big no no! All Internet sites are blocked apart from the Intranet Using a mobile phone at work is not illegal but people are so afraid of losing their jobs that it has become a social anxiety. I asked my dad about his thoughts of mobile phones in the workplace. He was definitely not happy about it. He constantly complains about the younger people at his work are always on their phones and tablets. So maybe it’s just a generational thing.

Generally I search the BCM240 hashtag for some inspiration, so here is my read of the week for this topic by Amelia Murphy

There Is No Privacy with Piracy