Public Screen Etiquette
I was reading a post on a website about people watching questionable material in public. With the proliferation of smartphones and tablet devices. There are so many more screens in public now. Big, clear screens that easily allow people to enjoy their content anywhere. Unfortunately I lost the article and can’t link to it here. The questionable material is not only x-rated material but any media with nudity or sexual content like you can find on YouTube in music videos and most major motion pictures. The question raised by the post was when children are around whose responsibility is it to control the media? What is the public screen etiquette.
My wife and I experienced just this situation on a plane flight from Hawaii. As we returned from our honeymoon we searched through the list of in-flight movies and choose some new major motion picture we both hadn’t seen. We had no idea that it was filled with nudity but while my wife wanted to turn it off I wasn’t about to simply because of the people around us. Just for the record there were no children or even teens around us. If there had been turning it off would have been a more acceptable choice to me. The responsibility to me was on the airline who provided the screen and media. It is a fine balancing act in order to protect everyone’s rights. After paying well over a thousand dollars for the flights I didn’t want to be inconvenienced by others. Why is their well-being more of a concern than mine?
So it can be a tricky subject since different people have different toleration levels for what they would watch in public. Obviously if there are little children around, hell anyone around and someone is watching a porn movie that is very questionable behaviour. Which brings up the question of what is the right response? Every day I spend one hour on the way to work and back on the train. I can’t count the number of laptops, smartphones and tablet devices I see. In a public space what is the appropriate response and whose responsibility is it?
I tend to think it depends on the severity of the content and the approach. I personally don’t like when people invade my private space. So I would be very upset if someone was to tap my shoulder and demand I stop watching whatever I was watching. However like I said it depends on the severity of the content. In a public space something filled with excessive nudity and sexual content is definitely a reason for response. I still don’t think demanding the person stop is the right course of action except in the rare cases of intolerable content. A simple questioning of the audience would be suffice. The response should be left to the person since they also have rights too. An example would be “Excuse me my little kids are trying to watch your movie, perhaps this is not the right place?”.
The attitude that is used to approach the subject will also determine the outcome. However in the end if the plea falls on deaf ears in my opinion it is the parent’s responsibility for their children. So they should be prepared to move to a different spot or tell their child not to watch the media. It takes a village to raise a child so people around should step in and offer to change locations with the parent and their children. The thing we all need to realize in today’s world is that no one has any more rights than another. So your children, religious beliefs or delicate sensitivity doesn’t give you any more rights than the next person.
So, what is your public screen etiquette?