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5 Things You Should Never Do With Your Laptop in Public

Updated on March 4, 2008

This is for those of you who have a hard time gauging when you have crossed the line from normal to awkwardly inappropriate. You know who you are—the woman talking on her cell phone while using a public restroom; the sweaty guy who squeezes in right next to another passenger on the bus when there are plenty of empty seats around; or, the woman at the dumpster who watches a neighbor struggle to dump her heavy trash can, saying “I don’t think so” when asked to help hold the lid open. That’s right, you know exactly who you are.

You might get a way with some of these shenanigans, but you need to know your limits. Since it is becoming more and more acceptable to use your laptop in public, it would be a good idea for you to remember the five things you should never do in public (unless you want to end up in jail, sued, or slapped by an offended lady or gentleman).

Loud Volume

Whether you are listening to music, watching a movie, or browsing You Tube, don’t turn the volume up full blast. In fact, you need to use earphones in public. Even with the earphones in, don’t turn it up so loud that the person four tables away in a loud coffee shop can hear the video’s background noises like they are in a movie theater. You are going to go deaf, and piss off everyone around you in the meantime.

People Watching

I love to people watch too, and even journal about the things I witness. This does not mean you should type everything you observe if the people around you can read your screen, especially if you are giggling obscenely to yourself as you type. Using a large font and bold text will make your case even worse.

Hoarding Space

Sure, your laptop is super special to you, and probably cost a good chunk of cash (or charged on your credit), but that does not mean you should be a space hog. Go ahead and imagine a protective bubble around your temple of a laptop, but don’t get all huffy when normal people can’t see your invisible shield.

Illegal Activity

Seriously, if you are going to do something illegal on your laptop, don’t do it public. Duh. And, if I catch you standing outside of the shop where I just made a credit card purchase, in an area known as a Wi-Fi hotspot, with your laptop open, locked, and loaded…well, I’ll probably kick your shins first, and ask questions later.


Do I really have to say it? If you insist on making the classy decision to look at or watch pornography on your computer, refrain from doing it in public (particularly if you are on a crowded public bus—yes, there are public buses that provide free Wi-Fi). Just say no to the public porno.


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    • ericfeld profile image

      ericfeld 8 years ago

      gotta agree with the porn lol. Great post

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 8 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Nice hub, Stacie. I don't have a laptop (yet) but will keep these points in mind because I plan to get a laptop very soon.

    • Tracker Frost profile image

      Tracker Frost 8 years ago from Wyoming

      Even more than that, are the stinking people looking at porn while on the library computer!  I've seen it twice at our public library now.  :(

      Its a sad world when I have to worry about taking my kids to the library.

    • bruce1789 profile image

      bruce1789 9 years ago from Saint Louis

      Hey Stacie,

      Great Hub by the way, you forgot to mention, don't plug in your password and other personal information into your laptop while out and about in public, without making sure the coast is clear

      (ie no one is secretly using binoculars to see your keystokes, pathetic I know but cyberthieves can be very determined or otherwise hanging around and generally up to no good)

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 9 years ago from Seattle

      Guy is right, Bonnie. You are the one who would never do that. Watching porn in public like that is so tacky--and a ploy for attention.

    • profile image

      Guy 9 years ago

      Why should you be embarrassed Bonnie? You should be happy that you are not like that.

    • Bonnie Ramsey profile image

      Bonnie Ramsey 9 years ago from United States

      I couldn't agree more! I have been in public and had someone at the next table watching porn and had the volume so we could hear it. I was soooooo embarassed! I complained to the manager about it but don't know if they did anything. I was about to leave (thank goodness!) when all the rucus started in the next booth! lol Totally tacky, if you ask me! Great hub!