11 places where smartphones should be banned

The best thing about smartphones is that they work anywhere.

The worst thing about smartphones is that other people can use them everywhere. While you might be a considerate phone owner - ensuring your headphones are plugged in, your keyboard clicks muted and your camera not pointed at anyone who wouldn't like it, not everyone holds themselves to the same standards.

It's because of these no-good tech louts that rules need to be brought in on exactly where and when smartphone use is above board, and where getting your handset out is punishable by having your iPhone 6S or Samsung Galaxy S7 subbed for a Nokia 3310. If it were up to us, we'd start by adding this lot to the banned list.


Cinema giant AMC Entertainment announced this week that it was looking at introducing smartphone-friendly screenings. Then they backtracked the following day.

Quite right too: if the mass of popcorn-rustling, drink-slurping, nacho-crunching distractions weren't bad enough, we'd have to deal with keyboard-tapping, ringtone chirps and screen lights too. If we've paid £15 to watch Batman and Superman have a bit of a tiff, we want to suffer through those two-and-a-bit hours in peace. Well, most of us do.


If it weren't for the selfie-obsessed vest wearers, the gym would be a wonderful place. Hand a bunch of roided-up muscle monkeys a smartphone in a room full of mirrors, however, and they turn the whole experience in to an assault course of camera-dodging. If we wanted pictures of ourselves as a sweaty, gurning mess, we'd put our holiday photos on Facebook. Don't make us even more self-conscious about our exercise face, yeah?


Possibly the most socially awkward of all the rooms, changing rooms are a place where idle chit-chat is frowned upon, and looking anywhere other than the floor or ceiling is punishable by embarrassed glances and painful eye contact. It's the last place then that you should have your smartphone out – especially when you're using it to answer that very recognisable Skype call ringtone, as Digital Spy witnessed this very week. Leave us in peace, please, we can't wrap our towels around us any tighter.


It's not just changing rooms where smartphones and bare skin can become all too close: the current habit of whipping it out at the urinal (one's phone, that is) is more than a little disturbing. This is a place where no conversations should be started, let alone social media updates. The stalls are no better – when it's time for a cubicle visit, being able to hear your stablemate's phone call and repeated WhatsApp alters is worse than distracting, it's creepy. If you can hear their phone, think what they can hear.


Obviously your entire smartphone shouldn't be off limits within waiting rooms. Heaven forbid you'd actually have to flick through that 2007 copy of Country Life. But there are certain features that should be locked down as soon as you walk through the doors into the germ-harbouring lobby. Quietly browsing Facebook, fine. Taking and uploading selfies, no. Catching up on some news or emails, go for it. Making a FaceTime call where you loudly discuss your latest ailment in all too graphic detail? Get out, you don't deserve to be healed.


'Sorry, mate, that'll be £6.32. Mate? HELLO, MATE?' Using your smartphone at the till isn't just inconsiderate, it's downright rude too. Pissing off everyone in a 5-metre radius, it will make the person serving you feel like a worthless goods gimp and anyone stood behind you infuriated by your lack of consideration for their urgent buying needs. It's 30 seconds of your life, lay the phone aside.


Like the cinema, attempting to sneakily check your smartphone in the theatre will irritate anyone and everyone within three rows of you. Worse than that though, it can distract the actors and thus ruin the show for the entire theatre - and all because you couldn't wait to see what Domino's deal of the day text says. If you don't abide, Helen Mirren will chase you into the street and publicly shame you.


'No one would use their phone during sex,' we hear you cry, but oh how wrong you are. According to a 2013 survey, one in ten Americans have broken out their smartphone while getting down to business and not just to make a private recording of the occasion. If anywhere should be a smartphone-free area this is it, because there's no bigger turn-off than checking your work email. If you insist on getting your phone out during sexy times, at least make sure you're putting it in a virtual reality headset to enjoy some VR porn and not simply swiping though Tinder looking for your next hook-up.


Stop! Just stop and step aside. NOW! This is the most frustrating of all the smartphone-based faux pas so move out of our way before we use our shopping bags to knock that phone straight out of your hands. Walking while using your smartphone turns you into a slowing meandering target for everyone's growing anger so give it a rest before we set the smartphone police on you.


You've dropped a serious wad of cash getting through the door, and so has everyone around you, so don't spoil it for the masses by insisting on holding a phone right in front of someone's eyeline, forcing them to watch the gig or sporting action through the 5-inch live feed from your handset's camera. If you want to remember the event, watch it, enjoy it and build a memory, don't just record it in crappy quality. And if you want to watch the footy through a screen, fine, stay at home and watch it on the TV, for our sake if not yours.


Of all the places smartphones should be banned, funerals are pretty high up there on the 'What were you thinking?' list of no-nos. (Not that it stopped Beyoncé.) It's unacceptable and all sorts of inappropriate. Although if you need telling about this particular social barrier, you're probably beyond help.