News that the US Telephone Yakkers Administration will soon be issuing mandatory etiquette standards for mobile phone users has the rudeness industry in an uproar.
The rules, which are still in the proposal stage, will require buyers to pass a “manners test” before phones are activated. The TYA also wants etiquette control systems installed on all newly manufactured handsets. In addition, the Administration believes further steps may be necessary to combat dwindling decorum among incessant chatters. Measures under consideration include licensing users, monitoring conversations and fining repeat offenders.
Industry analysts say companies in the bad-behavior business are likely to oppose the mandates. “Rudeness is a sensitive issue,” says one.
But the government insists the new rules are essential to promote telephone civility. According to a press release, common side effects of mobile phone ill manners include annoyance, hurt feelings and broken relationships. One clinical study found that making phone calls from public restrooms infringes on privacy rights, and can cause nausea in call recipients.
Still, the proposed rudeness measures face an uphill battle. Demand for bad manners continues to increase worldwide, and groups seeking to preserve the right to be rude have begun to form.
“Sure, they’re only targeting mobile phone users now. But this is a disturbing trend,” says a spokesperson for the nonprofit organization Fonies With Attitude. “Are we all going to be required to say please and thank you next?”