How do I make passengers seated beside me stop staring at what I am doing with my phone? It’s so annoying — Otunba Bamidele (@emma_dele)

Using your smartphone in a public bus

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Smartphone in bus
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Have you ever used your smartphone in a public bus, cab or train and had someone by your side staring at what you were doing? Perhaps you were exchanging love mesages with your sweetheart via BBM or WhatsApp. Or you needed to do a banking transaction. Or you needed to respond to a confidential email. And that pesky passenger wouldn’t stop staring.

Do you shield your phone with a hand or politely ask the co-passenger to give you some privacy? Or do you pocket your phone and wait for a more convenient place? How do you handle this sort of situation?


  1. If i’m well irked and I’m busy sharing personal stuff via a chat forum, I would politely request for it stop…otherwise, i’ll go on as if nothing happened. Infact, I may revel in the attention esp if my device is a high-end one 🙂

  2. A banking or financial transaction on public transport? Pass.

    I usually angle my phone away if I have a corner seat, if not I keep it in my pocket or bag until I’m in a more private/convenient location.

  3. Using a smartphone may even be easier than using a Tablet in Public places. With a Tab with its bigger screen size, almost everybody around you can see what you are doing, without trying

    Well, I guess you will need to wait until a more auspicious time if this peeping Tom will not desist. Or, if you are courageous enough, you can say, ‘excuse me’ to Peeping Tom, in the most supercilious of tones, dripping icicles, accompanied with a stare that will cow the most inquisitive soul..

  4. I would rather phone users take care of their privacy than asking fellow commuters in a public bus to give them some privacy. The term PUBLIC should even have informed the user that he or she is entitled to very little privacy.

    What’s the general advice about safeguarding our privacy in this age of digital lifestyle again? If you are going to be careful with the links you click on, the website you do financial transactions with and who you share your personal data with while online, even within the privacy of your house, I don’t see how it’s so difficult to wait until you are in a private place to do an online financial transaction or anything else that’s supposed to be private to you.

    Well, where you have nothing to hide and probably more to show off, then go ahead and give the person beside you a visual treat. Yeah, I do that with Swype Keyboard sometimes.

  5. Simply do something less personal while on the bus. When in transit, I usually read books or articles that I’ve saved, and all of this is done on my phone, I dare not use my tablet on public transport in Lagos. I’m not nearly brave enough for that.

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