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A Piece of My Mind
March 28, 2012

Our Ubiquitous Technology

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Family Medicine, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC (wellberc@georgetown.edu).

JAMA. 2012;307(12):1263-1264. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.343

In a recent discussion about social media, a student complained about a classmate who’d been reading a newspaper during a lecture. She thought he was terribly rude. The most likely reason: he was making an obvious show of not paying attention. The splay of large newspaper sheets, the paper's obvious irrelevance to the lecture topic, the distracting sound of turning pages—clearly the reader was flagrantly defying the educational setting. Contrast this behavior with students reading iPhones and iPads and opening laptops in class. Why aren't these behaviors rude?