NEW YORK (TheStreet) –– Cell phones are everywhere, but not everyone agrees on when it's acceptable to use them.
As sales of the new Apple (AAPL - Get Report) iPhone 6 and 6 Plus break records, a nationwide survey conducted for TheStreet by GfK shows that Americans are sharply divided on how phones should be used at home, in the workplace and in public places like movies and restaurants. Not surprisingly, young people are much more tolerant of cell phone use than their parents and grandparents.
The survey shows, for example, that only 21% of respondents aged 18 to 34 think you shouldn't talk, text or browse on your smartphone while watching TV. On the other hand, 57% of those 18 to 24 and 63% of those 25 to 34 think it's OK.
Among those 65 and older, however, 46% disapprove of being on your phone while watching TV.
Often in work meetings, people pull out their phones to share presentations, important memos from the boss or the latest data -- all of which may shape the direction of the meeting. However, after the information is shared, people tend not to put their phones away, and instead text and browse the Internet, something both genders agree is unacceptable.
And 71% of males and a whopping 85% of females said that neither talking nor texting or browsing for your own personal satisfaction are acceptable during a work meeting. There doesn't appear to be much an age disparity either in this line of thinking. For millennials, who were most lenient about personal use, a full 69% of respondents thought it was unacceptable, while 83% of those 65 and over think it's unacceptable.
By comparison, just 37% of males and 35% of females believe it is acceptable to use your phone during a meeting to share information with the group.
When people get down time, be it waiting in line (27% of respondents said it's acceptable to check texts or talk on the phone while at checkout), waiting for an oil change or any other time where you're waiting on someone else, people tend to turn to their smartphones to help pass the time. Doing so at a restaurant though, appears to be pretty unacceptable.
Of both male and female respondents, 69% said it was not acceptable to check messages or talk on the phone while eating with others in a restaurant. At least half of everyone in each age group also said it was unacceptable. The group that is most adamant about it are those over 65, with 83% of respondents saying it was unacceptable.
Though a majority of respondents said it's unacceptable to be on your phone when eating in a restaurant, one age group did stick out by saying it's OK. Thirty two percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 said it was OK. While that's still a minority, it is significantly higher than most of the other age ranges, with the 35 to 49 age range being the exception.
If you're at the movies, it's discouraged to check your phone during previews, with 72% of all respondents saying put the phone down. However, once the show starts, if you go to check your phone, may God help you. Nearly 90% of respondents in all age groups said it was not OK to check your phone or talk on it while the movie was playing, no matter the situation.
--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York
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