Smartphone ban at public events has nice ring to it

IF YOU’RE at the movies and you’re on the phone, I can see you. Same goes for a comedy show, the theatre and if you hold it up at a concert or music gig or any live performance to capture a bit of anything, then I can see that too. Along with plenty of other people. And we’re all annoyed.

Smartphones should be banned from all those events. You don’t need them. They wreck the experience for yourself and others but, most importantly, you don’t need them. You think you do, but you don’t.


If you’re worried that your wife might go into labour, then you shouldn’t be at the movies. If you’re waiting to hear from someone about a job, or an appointment, or a date, then don’t go to the movies.

What if there’s an emergency? Well, are you a doctor? Do you drive an ambulance? Are you in a position to do anything about it?

No, you’re not. However, there are plenty of people who are – ushers, attendants and so on – and they all have mobile phones too.

There was a time before everyone had a mobile phone. People coped. Give it a try.

People should be made to hand them over at the entrance and then walk through a smartphone detector. If you’re caught still with it, then it gets smashed.

If you’ve got a cover featuring anything shiny or that looks like a cassette, then it also gets smashed. My mobile phone cover features a three-dimensional hologram of sharks. It’s amazing.

Ban Smartphones meme_1

Using your smartphone while you’re at any event, you’re not only ruining it for others, you’re ruining it for yourself. That moment where you check your email, send a text, take a photo, make a call, you’re giving in to your inability to concentrate for more than a moment.

By removing the phone and the temptation, I’m doing you a big favour. You’re forced to concentrate on whatever it is you’ve paid to witness. You’ll have a better time, I guarantee it and, sometime in the future, you might even have developed the concentration span to read a whole book. Wow. Seriously, books are amazing. Get into it.

“But Xavier, if I can’t use my smartphone, how am I going to tell everyone what a great time I’m having?” you ask.

Tell them later, face to face. Some people still communicate like that.


On a side note, a lot of things are more satisfying in person. Such as talking instead of calling or texting, a real tour instead of a virtual one and being at a sporting or music event instead of watching it on a tiny screen.

Maybe we should start a movement. Where people choose to go out, but leave their phones at home. Let’s call it “No Phones, More Fun”.

I really like that idea. I’m going to set up a Facebook Event then tweet and text everyone I know about it right now.


Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian. Good for him.

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This article recently appeared in:

The Brisbane Courier Mail

The Daily Telegraph