/ Health, Technology

Toilet tweeting takes multitasking a step too far

Man using laptop on toilet

Apparently one in twenty people use their laptop on the loo, and even more take their mobile phone in with them. We may be a nation of multitaskers, but surely no conversation is that urgent.

A few weeks back, Which? research revealed the scary fact that many mobile phone surfaces are packed with bacteria.

One mobile it tested had so much nasty bacteria that it could have potentially made the user ill.

Having just read some recent research on people’s toilet habits, I’m surprised that our results didn’t show mobiles to be even dirtier. Of the 2,000 plus people it asked, The Co-Operative Pharmacy found that:

  • One in three people use a mobile phone or BlackBerry when on the toilet
  • One in twenty people also surf their laptop on the loo
  • Nearly one in three don’t use soap or handwash and one in five don’t always wash their hands after being on the loo.

Altogether now – ewww! Those facts combined don’t make happy reading for anyone with even a smidgeon of hygiene-consciousness. They would certainly make me think twice before touching someone else’s computer or mobile phone, especially when we now know that the surfaces of mobile phones are potential breeding grounds for nasty bacteria.

It’s the toilet, not the pub!

If I’m honest, I’m baffled why anyone would want to hold a phone conversation while seated on the porcelain throne. Surely it would raise some questions from the person on the other end. ‘What’s that noise?? Is it raining there? It’s very echoey…’, ‘Oh, I’m, erm, standing by a stream…in a cave…’ I have no idea how you’d go about explaining the noise of the flush.

You wouldn’t invite a friend to come into the toilet with you to carry on a conversation, would you? So why would you impose the background noises of your ablutions on them over the phone? Especially when you might be risking your health in the process.

I don’t care how short on time we might all be in this hectic, multimedia age. No text or conversation is so urgent that it can’t wait five or ten minutes. And if your toilet activities take longer than that, quite frankly the only person you should be calling is your doctor.


Making or answering a phone call while in a toilet is clearly a step too far. But I don’t see a problem with (silently) tweeting or web browsing from the loo! In an always-connected society 10 minutes can be too long to be away from the action. Your phone is (presumably) germ-free when you go in, you only use it with clean hands, and you put it back in your pocket or bag before you use your hands for ‘anything else’. Then you wash your hands and leave.

There will always be people who don’t wash their hands for some inexplicable reason, and these are the people with the problem, and whose phone or computer I wouldn’t want to touch. Unfortunately this 20% of society (according to the quoted survey) needs to seriously reconsider their personal hygiene habits.

@al warman I’m with you on this one Al, its not tweeting from the throne that’s the problem its peoples bad hygiene habits. Most days the 10 I have in the loo are the only free time I get so I have to make the most of them. What a waste just sitting there doing nothing! And Ceri, why do girls always go to the loo together if not to have a chat?

I knew somebody who was constantly on the mobile phone all evening, so of course when they had to use the loo they carried on the conversation on the phone regardless.

While flushing the loo they bent down and the mobile fell into the loo! You would have though they leant their lesson but no when they received their replacement phone they promptly did the same thing again. They still talk on the loo to this day but are more careful when it comes to flushing with a mobile about their person.

So people please don’t “talk and toilet” – its not hygienic and it may cost you the price of your phone!