Do you text during sex?

Not to get too personal here, but: According to a new survey by Osterman Research, 11 percent of adults have used their mobile phones "during a romantic moment" (their italics, not mine).

Is that your phone vibrating, or did you go shopping at Toys in Babeland (link might not be work safe) again?

That's not the only fun factoid to be had from the online survey, which polled 148 alleged adults. Roughly 1 out of 5 people use their mobiles during weddings and funerals (hopefully not while participating in the actual ceremony). About 40 percent make calls riding horses, bikes, or airplanes, despite FAA regulations strictly prohibiting the use of portable electronics. Almost 80 percent do it while driving their cars and, yes, 4 out of 5 people use their mobiles in the bathroom.

Sadly, the survey is completely mum about how many people are using their mobiles during intimate moments in airplane restrooms. That's what I'd really like to know.

Personally, I like to keep both hands on the wheel, if you know what I mean. But everybody knows at least one Crackberry head or iPhonaholic. Sure, they may be looking you in the eyes, but under the table their thumbs are working overtime.

Overall, 95 percent of people surveyed were surgically attached to their mobiles, using them night and day for work or play. The survey's larger point: Mobile devices are both highly critical and yet highly vulnerable to downtime and data loss [PDF]. (It was sponsored by The Neverfail Group, a disaster recovery vendor.)

Right around here I'm supposed to bemoan the continuing decline of western civilization and our growing personal alienation, but I'm not. All this connectedness is not necessarily a terrible thing, according to yet another study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

This one surveyed more than 2200 adults and found that cell phones and the Internet actually help to keep families connected. More than a third of families surf together, sharing things they found online. Adults spend less time watching TV and communicate more often with their kids than they used to, particularly by cell. One out of four adults say technology has brought them closer to their families today than they were when they were kids.

I can attest to this personally. In my family, my wife and the two niblets are at least as geeky as I am. You can often find all four of us at home, sitting in front of our respective screens and Skyping each other. (As you might guess, we tend to abuse the 'mooning' emoticon.) When we're not all in the same building, we're usually texting.

You want evidence of a culture going rotten, try American Idol or Flavor of Love.

But if you must use your mobile at all times, please try to wait until you're parked – at the curb, on the tarmac, or in an easy chair. I wouldn't want you to sprain something.

What's the strangest place you've used a mobile device? Post your thoughts below or email me directly: dan (at) dantynan (dot) com. But please, try to keep it reasonably clean.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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