Intel Explains How an Internet Addiction Can Offend Everyone This Holiday Season

Seventy-five percent of people feel it's just fine to use computers and cell phones on the toilet, according to a new Intel survey conducted by Harris Interactive, despite what the survey calls "hygiene considerations and awkward explanations."


Toilet Computing

So why do we care? Dr. Genevieve Bell, Intel's director of user experience, says this kind of information is all part of understanding how technology has become "increasingly engrained [sic] in our daily lives," and how we hapless toilet-texters are supposed to set boundaries on accessibility.

The study continues: "[M]any online adults view the need for constant connectivity as a function of expectations set by the current business culture, with 55% agreeing that the nature of business today demands people always be connected...even if it means taking a laptop on vacation or answering a call during a meal."

The study also quotes an etiquette expert from that bastion of manners, the Emily Post Institute, on how holiday situations will make our need for techno-etiquette even more acute. It is becoming "more challenging to discern appropriate behavior from potentially offensive behavior," says the expert.

And why does Intel care? Perhaps because the closer it gets to designing purpose-built chips for things like netbooks and smartphones, the more it will need to consider usage scenarios as a guiding light. "Intel has been tracking emerging mobile etiquette as part of our larger efforts to make sense of the ways in which new technologies are adopted and used," Dr. Bell told "Clearly etiquette is a playful angle, but one I would argue is an important indicator of the increasing centrality of new technologies in our lives."

Should you temper your Internet consumption while on the can or at a party? Are some things better left to tradition? According to the study, at least one in three adults will probably be offended by some of your holiday behavior: using a cell phone in church, sending a gift wish-list, or multi-tasking on an airport line, for instance.

Check out the study here.

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