6 Created Social Norm Technologies You Follow Every Day

With each new technological revolution, people change their way of life to adapt to changing social norms. In just over a decade, we’ve put smartphones in the hands of more than six billion people around the world.

With this huge shift in global culture, we have developed some interesting social norms to better interact with others. In this article, we’ll look at six such common standards that help us regulate our use of technology.

1. Don’t look at someone’s screen uninvited

Smartphones have become our primary tool for documenting our lives. They store a lot of our personal data including photos, videos, contacts, passwords, banking information, chats and more. It’s no wonder people like to keep things private.

Related: Best iPhone screen protectors for privacy

Not conforming to this norm of not looking at someone else’s screen uninvited can make you look scary, disrespectful, and even dangerous. Of course, this mostly applies to strangers and co-workers, as you might get by with close friends and family.

2. Don’t swipe if someone shows you something on their phone

Friends watching together on an iPhone

Even if you’re prompted to see something on someone’s phone, don’t swipe left or right to see more than they asked you to see. If you want to, be sure to ask permission before doing so.

Otherwise, you run the risk of making them feel like they can’t trust you with their phone.

When a friend tells you to watch a TikTok video they made, for example, they’re not prompting you to browse their entire gallery. Unlike social media walls which are public, private media is private for a reason.


3. Take your headphones off when talking to someone

Modern headphones come with all sorts of useful features like ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) and Transparency mode. The latter allows you to hear your surroundings while keeping your headphones on. Still, this is a relatively new and far from mainstream feature.

Related: What is active noise cancellation and how does it work?

This establishes the obvious presumption that a person wearing headphones cannot hear you properly and therefore forces you to raise your voice unnecessarily when talking to them.

For this reason, if someone strikes up a conversation with you, it’s a good idea to take your headphones off.

4. Do not unplug a charging device to charge yours without permission

photo of iphone charging

Your device might be out of juice, but unplugging someone’s charger just to charge yours without asking them isn’t a good idea. An exception to this might be your direct family, but doing it between friends or colleagues can invite quarrels.

Also, not all chargers are compatible with all phones. The obvious examples are iPhones with their Lightning connectors and Android phones with their USB-C or Micro-USB connectors. So even if a friend or colleague has a spare charger, they may not be able to help you.

5. Don’t play your music out loud in public spaces

This one is downright boring. You might have the best taste in music, but not everyone wants to listen to your playlist, no matter how carefully you curate it. At train stations or bus stops, people might not hear announcements if you put your music on high.

Related: Soundstage vs. Audio Imaging: What’s Most Important for the Best Sound?

In parks, supermarkets and public squares, it unnecessarily disturbs surrounding people who are simply trying to relax, shop or move around. If you feel like jamming to your favorite tunes in public spaces, use headphones.

6. Don’t use your zoom lens to stalk people

a person clicking photo with smartphone

Over the years, zoom cameras on smartphones have become very good. For example, the Galaxy S22 Ultra can give you a surprisingly sharp photo even at 30x zoom.

While it’s great for people who like to take photos of birds, buildings, and the moon, it’s also unfortunately a great tool for stalkers.

Imagine minding your own business while someone in the next building just pulls out their phone to see what you’re doing like it’s no big deal. Obviously, this is a big invasion of privacy.

Make sure you use technology responsibly

Technology has a big influence on the way we interact with each other, especially today when it has become an integral part of our lives.

While we all benefit from its versatility, we also lose from it. To mitigate these harmful consequences, it is important that we follow social norms to improve our relationship with technology.

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