New research released today by O2 reveals we are a nation of eavesdroppers, with 84 per cent of people admitting to listening in on their fellow commuters’ phone conversations while on a train or platform.
The discussions taking place can be so intriguing that six out of ten (59 per cent) Brits would rather eavesdrop than listen to music or read. Furthermore, 10 per cent of respondents have actually missed their stop because they were so engrossed in what they were overhearing.
O2 commissioned the survey to help the UK use apps such as TU Go, which enables O2 customers to text, call and check your voicemail over Wi-Fi without the need for phone signal, in a considerate and responsible manner. The survey revealed that callers often unwittingly reveal some of the most intimate details of their lives to perfect strangers around them – everything from the details of their salary through to their personal lives.
Top 5 phone conversations most likely to be overheard
As a result of overhearing something they shouldn’t have, almost three quarters (74 per cent) of people admitted to sharing the conversation with their friends, with 40 per cent going as far as publishing a social media post revealing the details.
Despite this, a small but significant attention-seeking 6 per cent of people actually like the idea that other people can overhear their conversations. Only 14 per cent decide to ask their caller to call them back to avoid having to talk loudly on the train, while three quarters (75 per cent) decide to take the call regardless.
Consequently, 88 per cent of the British public believe that people have no shame while talking on the phone, and 3 out of 5 Brits (60 per cent) believe we would benefit from some form of etiquette being put in place regarding phone use on public transport.
“Thanks to the latest technology we’re now able to make use of our phone in more places than ever before, including on the underground,” said Nina Bibby, O2’s Marketing and Consumer Director. “This often means that people are having both personal and professional conversations within earshot of lots of other people, so we thought we’d offer them a helping hand by suggesting some simple and easy tips for when on the phone in public.”
As a result of the findings, O2 has worked with Etiquette Consultant, William Hanson, to offer ten helpful tips on how to use your phone considerately when on public transport:
According to half (50 per cent) of Brits, teenagers have the worst reputation for talking loudly on their phone whilst on a train or platform, followed by business men (34 per cent) and drunk people (33 per cent). However, most people (56 per cent) have never asked a fellow commuter to keep the noise down while on the phone.
Tu Go enables O2 customers to use Wi-Fi to call, text and check voicemail when they don’t have signal. The app is available to download for free now for Pay Monthly and Business customers from http://www.o2.co.uk/apps/tu-go.