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Today in things that make us scream incoherently

Young Moviegoers Are Totally Ok With Texting In Theaters

Well, I guess this means I’m officially old. I detest any cell phone use while out to see a movie but apparently them youngins’ think it’s just swell. The Hollywood Reporter conducted a poll to figure out how Americans discover and consume entertainment and found out social media is huge (obviously) and that a lot of people would prefer a theater in which you were not only allowed, but encouraged, to text. And to them I say, “Get off my lawn!”

THR asked the market research firm Penn Schoen Berland to help them conduct the poll on entertainment. The write, “Nine of 10 respondents view social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook as a new form of entertainment, and more than half say social media sites are important tastemakers in determining what to watch and buy. Perhaps more surprising, 80 percent of television viewers visit Facebook while they watch.”

The first part certainly makes sense to me. You see what your friends and family are talking about and if it sounds interesting to you, you’ll probably give it a try. But why are people on Facebook while they’re watching television or movies? It just sounds distracting to me.

The findings were based on a survey of 750 social network users ages 13 to 49. But “the poll found that a majority of 18-to-34-year-olds believe using social media while watching a movie in a theater would add to their experience, and nearly half would be interested in going to theaters that allowed texting and web surfing,” they write. Coincidentally, there’s a concert hall being built in Washington state that is planning on allowing texting during their performances.

Again, I don’t get it but maybe I’m just the old fart who doesn’t understand technology. Are we going to have to have texting and no-texting showings now? I know there’s still a lot of people who are opposed to cell phone use in theaters but if the trend continues I wouldn’t be surprised if things eventually went that route.

“Millennials want their public moviegoing experience to replicate their own private media experiences,” said pollster Jon Penn.“Having dedicated social-media-friendly seats, or even entire theaters, can make the moviegoing experience more relevant and enjoyable for them.”

Where does your opinion fall on this issue? Do you like texting during a movie, have tolerance for others who do it, or despise it completely?

(via /Film)


  • LizbethAnne

    Talking on a cell phone is unacceptable to me, but texting (as long as the phone is on silent) isn’t an issue. I guess the light could be distracting if it’s an exceptionally dark theater/scene in the movie, but most theaters have lighting to show you the exit that’s brighter than the cell screens.

    Can we devote our resorces to the worst movie infractions: loud candy bags. How have we not invented a silent version? My boyfriend spent what felt like hours getting candy out of the bag during Hunger Games, and I practically wanted to sick Cato on him.

  • Jill Pantozzi


  • Dave Sanchez

    If you are texting while watching a movie, are you actually watching and enjoying the movie?  I don’t think so.  Also, I think it’s rude to those around you who are trying to watch the movie and getting distracted with the glow of the phone.  I must be old school myself.

  • Adam Whitley

    I don’t see why anyone would care about texting as long as the phone didn’t make noises.

  • Whitney Drake

    I admit, that 90% of the time if I’m watching TV, I’m on Twitter or FB.  But that’s usually because during the day I’m watching reruns, so they’re shows I’ve already seen.  But if it’s a new show?  No way.

    People texting/using their phones drives me crazy during movies!

  • Jen Roberts

    You’re not the only “old fogey” around here.

    “Millennials want their public moviegoing experience to replicate their own private media experiences,”

    That’s nice. I want a unicorn to show up and whisk me away for magical adventures. You’re not in a private home, you’re out in public, and common courtesy applies. The lights on a cell screen may not be much brighter than the floor lights to show you to the door, but those aren’t right up by your face. If the person next to me decides they have to text about something RIGHT THIS SECOND, that is totally going to ruin my enjoyment of the movie.

    When I’m watching a movie with friends at one of our houses, then yeah, we talk and make jokes and goof around a little ’cause (A) we can always rewind if we missed something and (B) we’re in a private home and it’s just us and we all enjoy that sort of thing. When I’m watching a movie with friends at a theater, we sit still and shut up and watch the movie. If we *have* to say something, we lean in and whisper it so as not to disrupt the experience for those around us.

    I’m not going to say that “OMG KIDS THESE DAYS” or imply that *all* millenials are like that. There are people in other generations who don’t seem to get common courtesy either. I’m personally not on board with the idea of “texting/non-texting” areas in the same theater, but texting/non-texting SHOWS is something I could be okay with, at least. Just let me know up front when I’m buying tickets, so I know which shows to buy for. Ultimately, the old fogey in me says that someone who wants a public experience to be exactly the same as their own private experience is acting selfishly and needs to think of others. (Please note that I’m not saying they ARE selfish; we all act selfishly from time to time, just as smart people do dumb things occasionally, etc.)

  • Victoria Eden

    I was in a theater where someone kept texting and it was the worst. They were a couple rows ahead of me so every once in a while this little blue light would pop up and bounce around. It definitely pulled my attention away from the screen.

  • thelovelyjazmin

    I don’t know if my eyes are oversensitive or what but cell phone lights during movies are The Worst. I cannot deal with the sudden light glaring in my eyeballs. You know that pain you get if you see a movie while the sun is still out? When you leave the theater and are blind? It is like that but worse because now I am blind and cannot see the movie.

    I’m not sure if I qualify as a “millenial” (I’m 22 so I guess I’m whatever generation is before that?) but I’m pretty sure if you can’t wait until the end of a movie in order to tweet about how awesome/stupid it is, you need some sort of social media rehab.

    Also, being on facebook/twitter during a television show is completely different. You are in your home and therefore not bothering anyone else. And if you tweet about The Walking Dead being really good this episode, then someone might read it and tune in, raising the number of viewers. I can see how tv people like that. But that is something that doesn’t translate to movies. Because they have multiple showtimes, word-of-mouth viewership doesn’t need to be immediate.

  • Jack Creed

    I will tell people to turn their damned phones off if I’m in a theater.  I don’t care it they’re texting those little lit up screens are damned annoying.  Besides it’s time people start experiencing life instead of tweeting or texting about it.

  • Ividia Kt

    Not just no, but heck no.  I don’t get out to the movie theatre much, and when I do, I would like to enjoy my experience which includes no ringing phones (yes, that still happens), no texting after the start of the movie.  And by the way, if I’m at home and watching something I haven’t seen before, the computer is off, the phone’s on silent, and quit trying to talk to me, I’m Watching This!  

    Of course there’s the distraction of misbehaving children.  If your kid(s) can sit there and watch the movie, I take no issue with them being there.  

  • Heather Harris

    This is why I rarely go to the movies anymore, and if I do, I go to a matinee at the theater in the mall downtown, which is not within walking distance of any schools or residential areas, as that minimizes the number of teenagers that will be present. It’s not just the texting, although the way people can’t seem to do that without flashing the screen around just baffles me, but this attitude of utter entitlement that they have. I’m not the type to sit quietly, gritting my teeth as someone else is ruining the show for the rest of us. There’s just no excuse for being disruptive in the theater and just not caring that you’re spoiling it. The last time I said something to a pair of teenagers sitting right behind me, it started as a “c’mon, now” look, then a “shhh!” then a verbal “c’mon!” then finally a “hey, shut up!” It got to the point where my friend and I seriously could not pay attention to the movie (Thor, btw) and I got up to find an employee to ask what their policy is on dealing with people who Would. Not. Shut. Up. A manager was sent in, walked up to ME, asked if I was the one who’d complained. I said yes, and he just turned and left, without even a glance at the STILL TALKING teenagers. At the end of the movie, I said to them “you all need to start waiting for the DVD until you learn how to act in the theater.” The response? “I paid the same amount for my ticket as you did, so shut the fuck up.” Um, no. I did not pay to come in and listen to your mouth, and you did not pay for the privilege of turning an entire theater into your living room. 

  • Anonymous

    I’ll be the first to admit that I multitask while watching TV… but AT HOME. At the theatre I’m conscious that I would be distracting from other people’s enjoyment. The attitude of those that do not care and do it anyway and/or endorse theatres allowing texting is akin to that of people who blare music in their cell phone sans headphones on public transit – utterly self interested and self centered with no regard for the people around them. This is what our society is turning into. And I’m only 25, so there you go

  • Lindsay

    The light up screens are incredibly distracting. I hate them more than I ever hated ringers going off, because it’s so much more common. Once I was in a row across from a person (about 10 seats away) with a bluetooth earpiece THAT BLINKED. I kept catching it in my peripheral vision and it distracted me to the point that I held up my jacket to make a little barrier over my armrest. 

    Now my husband and I race for the one row in the front of the raked section that has a barrier between you and the rows below. Otherwise all I see is blinking lights in the audience. I won’t pay more for 3D most times, but I might pay a bit more for ushers who enforced no talking/texting rules.

  • Brianna Sheldon

    Booo. I am fine for before and immediately after, but during is distracting. 

  • Fraser McFarlane

    I don’t like paying extra for 3D but I would gladly pay extra to have extra ushers or security that came down hard on those who use cellphones or talk.  Alamo Drafthouse cinemas do it, so I fail to see why other chains cannot offer zero tolerance.  I’ve worked at a cinema before too, and we would keep someone in the theater at all times who could tell people to shut the hell up.  That’s not hard to do.  Remember that if talking or cellphone use is going on, it’s not just the people who are doing it that are the problem, it’s the cinema allowing them to get away with it.  If cinemas clamped down, these morons would stay away once word got around.

  • Jim MacDougall

    It’s the distraction of other people’s actions that bugs me – if you wanna sit BEHIND me and text all through the freakin’ movie – don’t care.  Why not sit in the back row – no one behind you to light up with your phone.

  • Francesca M

    YES! Go to the back if the phone matters that much to you that you can’t do without it for a couple hours.

  • Sarah Nicolas

     I agree! I don’t care if you text as long as the light doesn’t blind me while I’m trying to watch the movie. Since most people can’t be bothered to turn their screen brightness all the way down, they should sit in the back row!

    On a side note: I always have my computer in front of me when I’m watching tv. It’s not even like most tv shows these days are engaging enough to require my whole attention – with a few exceptions.

  • Comic Book Candy

    Can we all agree on a socially acceptable rebuttal for this action? Like say, throwing Jujubees at people that text or answer their phone in a theater? That would seem like a proportionately rude reaction.

    As cell phone screen sizes increase,  so does the nuisance of texting in a theater. I think the results of this survey are inherently flawed considering they *only* asked via social networks. Participants were probably heavy social network users to begin with and would naturally think texting in a theater is normal.

  • Mike Perry

    I’m 29 myself and this would make me mad too. Like Hulk mad. That light from cell phones can be incredibly annoying if it’s close to anyone else.

  • Lynda Bowen

    Common courtesy would be nice: although the little scurrying mice noises from fake nails tippety tapping is bad enough, it’s the light from the screen that I find especially annoying when it’s in the corner of my eye. Although I was at a mid afternoon performance of “A  Dangerous Method”, 2 girls were texting, then explaining what they’d missed. Pain in the butt. If you can’t survive 90 minutes then get out of everybody’s eyeline and STFU.

  • Anonymous

    I’m 19 and movie texters piss me off, so it’s not all young people at least.  Sure, I’ll text while watching tv and movies at home, but it’s seldom as dark in my living room as it is in a theatre, and the only potentially annoyed people are my parents.

  • Sarah Christine

    remember back when everyone had “that” nokia, and certain parties got light up thingies for thier antenna and when they would answer a call and everything behind heir heads turned into a disco rave type moviegoing experience.
    yes, hulk mad, definitely.

  • Robin Burks

    I’m an old fogie, too. I also might as well tell those annoying kids to get off of my lawn. I don’t understand how you can really enjoy the movie (and the movie experience) if you’re constantly texting.

    However, if everyone who wanted to text sat in the back and were quiet about it, I probably wouldn’t have an issue with it. It’s the light in the dark theatre that’s the most distracting. 

    Personally, though, I’d say charge them more money for those special “texting” seats. If they’re so gung-ho on the idea, make ‘em pay for it! :P

  • Nika Kalantar

    I tend to nitpick a lot at movies, so if I don’t text I will just hiss questions at the screen even if alone. I know it’s bad and horrible and I should be stoned to death for it but that’s the way I get involved, my brain starts asking questions and if I don’t ask them then they will just lie at the back of my brain half-forgotten and gnawing at that little stained blanket I call sanity. So really, texting is much more polite towards others, at least it keeps me silent.

  • Sarah

    Except the lighting to the exits isn’t next to you and flashing on and off. That’s what bothers me. Someone taking out their phone and turning on the screen creates movement that draws me away from the movie. I have glared/punched friends for texting during a movie because I hate that distraction.

    That being said, if you’re mouth breather you better not sit any where near me in a theater. Or a loud chewer. 

    I’m the type that doesn’t mind going to a movie alone….

  • Sarah

    It’s the light from the phone. 

  • Sarah

    Cell phone free viewing would be AMAZING.

  • Teresa Jusino

    Yeah, there’s a big difference between visiting Facebook/Twitter at home when you’re watching something (I check in on Get Glue, live-tweet, etc), and doing so when you’re out. The lights from phones IS distracting. And having your phone out and lit up during a public showing of something is rude. Tweet/text before, or after, but not during.

  • Morgan

    I totally agree with everything in this article, except I’m actually watching TV right now while I read this so….  :)

  • Anonymous

    This is exactly why I stopped going to movies in theaters.  I got sick of people texting, talking, and playing on their phones during the film.  I can not concentrate on the movie with all those distractions.  I’m not going to pay the price of tickets and concessions to miss out on the full movie experience simply because people are so inconsiderate.  If this is the direction the movie theaters want to take, I’ll save my money.

  • relmneiko

    I’m starting to get a knee-jerk annoyance reaction to people who are glued to their phones in general, tbh. Do you HAVE to look at your phone every 15 minutes? I only even keep my phone with me so I can use it as a watch/alarm clock and in case I get called in to work. It’s such a life distraction for so many people, and so rude. :/

  • Frodo Baggins

    But even on the smooth bed of needles, Peeta is loud.

  • Frodo Baggins

    I totally approve of designated texting-allowed theaters. That way, we can get all the no-attention span, self involved, inconsiderate twerps rounded up so the rest of us can enjoy films in peace.

  • Anonymous

     And while they’re all in there, we gas ‘em – right?

  • Anonymous

    What’s maddening to me is when someone insists they’re paying attention to the movie while they’re doing it. There is NO way you’re appreciating it in the same way as someone paying full attention so don’t tell me that!!!

  • Anonymous

    Thankfully, I’ve yet to witness more than a small handful of people use there phone during a movie, but the few I have-it’s just rude. Take into consideration that some may not care about spending almost $10 to sit in a theater and spend the time going to Fb, but some of us who this is a rare treat after bills consume all our money, are wanting to see this new film without little glow screens distracting us!
    The last two films I’ve seen, the main problem resulted from loud, talkative, annoying muggles sitting next to, or right behind me. During ‘The Woman In Black’, if I heard one more person around me go “Awwww shit! That’s that Potter dude!” I was going to go on a baby punching tangent. (Bad thing about the theaters here, they don’t seem to kick ppl out that are being loud and complained about)

  • Anonymous

    You give me hope for peoples manners of our generation. <3

  • Frodo Baggins

    No, being stuck with each other is its own punishment.

  • Anonymous

     Yes, but afterwards they’ll be released back into the wild!!

  • thelovelyjazmin

    Maybe you just shouldn’t go to the movie theater? It is very rude of you to appoint yourself commentator and it is also rude of you to blind people with your cell phone. You can wait a few months for movies to come on dvd if you absolutely MUST announce your feelings during every scene.

  • Ide Cyan

    There were people in the row in front of me texting almost continuously during the first half of The Hunger Games this week-end, who would *not* take hints, and who only stopped after I told them to quit. It was extremely distracting. After the movie ended another person who’d been in my row thanked me for telling those people to stop.

    I don’t care if you talk or text before or after the movie, but don’t do it DURING the movie. Or if you want to text, do like the commenters above suggested: go sit in the back row so the light won’t get in anyone else’s sightline. And turn the luminosity down for your neighbours!!

  • Adam Whitley

    I guess I’m one of those people in the minority who aren’t distracted by that.

  • David Escalante

    Who ever made that survey, obviously don’t now how to do it’s job.

    Clearly all comments here shows a perfect reject to that behavior, how is possible someone can agree to do that in a movie theater?

  • Al Strasburg

    Tonight I went to my last movie out at a cinema. I will refuse to support the movie theater industry until they end this ill-mannered scourge on society. I used to go to at least one movie every single week, but no more. Between the texting and talking and whispering (yes, teenagers, your whispering is loud and obnoxious!) the movie experience isn’t worth the time and money.

  • Marv Castillo

    I’m 18 and I already feel old. I really hate when people is texting or talking during the movie. I pay for my ticket to actually enjoy a film and having some people around me with their cellphones out is very uncorfortable.

  • mplo

    Imho, texting is just as distracting as talking on one’s cellphone, whether the texter has his/her cellphone on “silent” or not, because of the small but very bright light that shines in other people’s faces and distracts them from the movie. There’s no excuse for this kind of rude, arrogant and unfair behavior..on the part of anybody of any age.

  • mplo

    I agree with you wholeheartedly, Fraser McFarlane. Theatre proprietors/owners and staff should come down…HARD on people who text/talk on their cellphones during the movies!

  • mplo

    Doing that stuff at home is one thing, but doing it in the movie theatre is a whole other matter. I think that theatre proprietors and staff should reallty crack down on texters/cellphone users and evict anybody who persists on violating the rules despite warnings, with no refunds. If they’re rude, hit them where it hurts the most…in their pocketbooks. It would serve them right!

  • mplo

    Therein lies the problem, BaronessHeather! The spoiled, self-centered jerks who insist on texting/cellphone use while in the movie theatre, whether their cellphones are on “silent” or not, are who’ve helped to all but kill the movie theatre business. I still go to movies, but if I see someone texting during a film, I very matter-of-factly tell them not to. I’m able to do that, because I go to movie theatres that show better-quality films rather than the schlock that the multiplex cinemas that dot the highways and byways of the USA show, because the rude texting/cellphone use is far less of a problem in movie theatres that show better-quality movies.

    Whether or not one can/cannot speak out about it depends upon the location of the movie theatre, as well, if one gets the drift.

  • mplo

    Okay, but that doesn’t mean that other people feel the way you do, Adam Whitley.