Airplane Mode People!

Time & Life Management

Airplane Mode People!

How many times does each of us experience someone’s phone going off in a public place we are at? Often, right? Most of us take the time to click the correct button to make the device not ring, or even vibrate. However, some are uncertain just what button they can or should use to not totally turn off their phone, and then there are those who simply don’t care. Granted it does take time for a smartphone to start up again, which can be annoying, so an alternative to just switching it off and on again all day long is a good idea.

Since I travel a lot, I have become accustomed to using Airplane Mode. What I love about it is that messages, calls, emails, pretty much everything arrives, but I am not alerted to it until I turn Airplane Mode OFF. Then all the messages, etc. flood into the apps and I can deal with them. What is nice is that there is no downtime awaiting the phone to start up again. The best part however, is that you and others in ear-shot are not bothered and interrupted with whatever they are enjoying; a movie; a conversation; a lecture; etc. Just one phone going off disturbs so many. Research shows that ringing of cell phones and their respective alerts is a major source of distraction (Chen & Yan, 2016). In addition, another study by Shelton, Elliott, Eaves, & Exner, (2009) indicated that when an experiment with a ringing cell phone in a lecture was conducted, the results showed that when students were tested, answers to questions pertaining to the part of the lecture that occurred when the cell phone was ringing (an intentional distraction staged with a confederate), scores were quite a bit lower. Their study concluded that cell phone ringing disrupted cognitive performance, particularly when the distraction came unexpectedly, such as the sudden ringing of a cell phone in a classroom particularly in a familiar tune, which they shared may have longer lasting effects.

There was an article years back citing that an interruption could take from 15-30 minutes for a person to recover from in order to reach the same level of intensity and speed at which they were doing a task prior to the interruption. Can you imagine the disruptions just ONE cell phone going off during a lecture, meeting, or classroom can cause? So, do yourself, and everyone around you a favor, and when you are going to a place that a phone should not ring or vibrate, click onto ‘settings’ and activate your ‘Airplane Mode’ button. The world thanks you in advance.


Chen, Q., & Yan, Z. (2016). Does multitasking with mobile phones affect learning? A review. Computers in Human Behavior, 5434-42. Doi:10.1016/j.chb.2015.07.047

Shelton, J. T., Elliott, E. M., Eaves, S. D., & Exner, A. L. (2009). The distracting effects of a ringing cell phone: An investigation of the laboratory and the classroom setting. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 29(4), 513–521.