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'Do not disturb'. Why don’t Zoomers answer their phones?

'Do not disturb'. Why don’t Zoomers answer their phones?

Image source: © canva
Marta Grzeszczuk,
23.02.2024 16:30

Members of Gen Z often use the 'do not disturb' mode to avoid unwanted calls, and the reasons may be surprising.

Generation Z is known for their outspokenness on various issues, including broader equality, the climate crisis, and the challenges of hard work. However, when it comes to having conversations over the phone, many people choose to keep their devices in "do not disturb" mode to avoid unwanted interruptions.

Generation Z dislikes phone calls

A study conducted in 2023 by CommBank, an Australian bank, and More, a mobile phone operator, observed that a large number of Generation Z individuals in Australia dislike phone calls. Only one in 10 preferred phone calls to contact their loved ones, while 87% would rather deal with an unpleasant task via text message instead of picking up the phone. Almost half of the respondents (49%) said talking on the phone makes them anxious.

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However, the survey also revealed that 98% of the respondents believe keeping in touch with loved ones is essential. Zoomers, as they are called, prefer meeting their family and friends in person (32%), followed by texting (26%) and social media platforms (16%). On the other hand, an awkward phone call is one of the top three things they want to avoid (42%), followed by large social gatherings (37%) or discharging their phone battery in public (35%).

Always on "do not disturb" mode

The "Do Not Disturb" function is available on both Android and iOS phones, and it serves the purpose of meeting the needs of Gen Z smartphone users. When activated, the mode rejects calls and mutes alerts, and notification sounds while allowing internet use.

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This way of using a smartphone is popular not just in Australia but also in Poland. For instance, in a popular video of TikToker @piotrell0, wherein he declares, "I wouldn't survive without this feature", there are plenty of comments that express similar sentiments, such as "That’s totally me" or "My life described in one video".

Phone call avoidance not limited to Zoomers

It turns out, however, that it's not just Gen Z members who aren't happy to answer their phones. On X, journalist Max Burns quipped: "Today I learned that some Gen Z kids keep their cell phones on Do Not Disturb 24/7, so they never have to face the anxiety of answering the phone."

"Calling someone on their cell phone when you aren’t in a life or death situation is disrespectful [as f—k]. Like, what makes you think you’re entitled to my attention right that moment, making me use up a hand to hold my phone when you could text the exact same device?" humorously replied another X user. This was not an isolated voice on the issue. "I am shocked to learn there are people who don’t do this!" wrote one user.

A fellow commenter expressed doubt about whether a person's phone anxiety is actually caused by anxiety itself or rather the fact that spammers have taken over the social function of the phone system, rendering it almost useless. It's hard not to agree that constant phone calls offering loans, "solar panels for your balcony", or attempting to scam or phish users are a nuisance that seems impossible to control.

Source: commbank.com.au, nypost.com

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