Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Question of Manners

I have a question for all of you in blog-land.

I have an iPhone. It is connected, via bluetooth, to my braille display. Apple has built a "screen curtain" into all their products. This feature blackens the screen so people can't read it. Usually I have this feature enabled, but sometimes not. I find that when I'm in public, either texting, or using my Mac, and the screen curtain is not enabled, people will stand near me, to watch, and read my screen. I find this rude, annoying and intrusive. This is why I usually have the screen curtain turned off on both my Mac and my iPhone when out in public. It doesn't keep the nosys from staring, but at least they can't read my screen.
I know people don't mean to be rude, and that most people don't think about it, that they are just so fascinated with my technology, bla bla bla. I really don't give a tinker's damn that their intentions are good; I want to be left alone.

So my question to you, is it normal for sighties to do this to one another. In other words, if you were to see a sighted person in a coffee shop who had a laptop or cell phone, would it be socially acceptable to stand there and visibly read their screen? Am I just too prickly and should just chill out? If sighted people do it to each other and it isn't considered "rude" I'm more than willing to look at this issue differently. Right now, however, it just feels like a huge invasion of my space, and like because people know I'm blind, they think it's perfectly ok to engage in behaviors which are not acceptable to do if I were sighted.


  1. I think socially reading over someone's shoulder (whether it's a physical page of something or an electronic device) is considered rude. I do think that it's quite common, however, for people to be enamored of new technology. I know a few people have questioned me about my Kindle and even my Droid, but I can't think of a time where someone just stared at my tech. Maybe I wasn't aware. I tend to get very engrossed when I'm reading, so I could just be incredibly oblivious.

  2. I think it is rude to read anyone's screen. And honestly, even if your technology is amazing to see used in person, I would be appalled if I saw someone doing that to you (and would probably say so). I'm not very tolerant of rudeness

  3. I'm pretty sure it's considered socially unacceptable and an invasion of privacy to have someone looking over your shoulder to see what you're writing. I also don't think it matters if you're blind or fully sighted, it's just wrong! My sister is terrible for doing that when I'm on my laptop, so it's actually kinda nice to have the screen so cracked that no one can see what I'm doing lol!