The Nice Movement

Dave Haste
By Dave Haste Last edited 116 months ago
The Nice Movement
Liz with moustache

This weekend column is brought to you by the founders of Niceties Tokens, Liz and Pete of Team Nice.

43. Kids, music, and mobile phones

Last week I was told to turn my music down on a train, as unbeknown to me, my earphones were rubbish and other commuters could hear my embarrassingly loud music.

But now let’s talk about those people who actually play their mobile phones like little mini stereos for us all to enjoy.

In my experience these people are usually kids, in groups, who actually have a malevolent cloud around them that is so intimidating that only the very brave will ever get up and tell them to turn it off.

I was once that brave. I was really hung-over; it was a Sunday afternoon and travelling on my own, back from a hen party in Oxford. The two boys (I wouldn’t have had the courage if there was any more of them) did turn their music off for me. I did ask really very sweetly, but the result was probably more to do with their bewilderment at the permanent marker moustache I drew on my face the night before, and hadn’t been able to scrub off entirely.

Kids are doing what kids have always done, to look good in front of their mates. This phone thing shows their mates that they have cool phones, have cool music and they are rebellious. They have observed the bystander apathy of British commuting culture and know that no one is going to say anything.

From research done in 2006, 72% of UK children have mobile phones and 21% of those children like to play their music in public places. So… that would suggest that there is a lot of money involved in marketing phones to children?

So is it irresponsible for phone manufacturers to make this function on handsets? What purpose does it serve other than to irritate? How did they envisage this function to be used? And what can we do about it?

By Liz Akers

Last Updated 20 April 2008

nuttyxander

It's not irresponsible to provide functionality. After all happy slapping isn't an argument for banning cameras from phones either. I personally use the speaker on my phone quite a lot, either when cooking so I can listen to odd bits of podcasts or when I have a shower so that I can try and avoid just shouting at Radio 4 and instead enjoy a few choice tunes.

There could perhaps be an argument for more sensible volume controls, though I think that's an argument more set for use of mobile phones with headphones (I'd really love a setting just below the lowest volume I have, digital volume controls are very annoying).