smart phones aren't used for status symbols.
Yes they are, I'm just going to do the copy/paste from the other comment I made about this.
The culture of one-upmanship and keeping up with the joneses is alive and well in western societies. A lot of people are constantly trying to get better toys than their peers and neighbours. Frank buys a ride on mower, not Bob and Steve have to have one. Steve gets a new Accord Euro, so Bob has to get a BMW 320 and not to be out done, Frank has to get a Mercedes CLA. Same with kids getting huge fart-cannon cat-backs (exhausts) to make their crapwagon sound louder.
Phones are considered status symbols by a lot of vain people, they aren't very good status symbols but they are still status symbols for a great many people. This is why they rush to show everyone their new phone, mundane people don't care about how much RAM it's got or the new features like us geeks and every other mundane person knows it. They only care about showing everyone their new toy.
There's a joke explaining the difference between a normal person and a douchebag.
Normal Person: Excuse me for a second, I have to get my jacket out of my car, I left my phone in there.
Douchebag: Excuse me for a second, I have to get my Northface out of my Lexus, I left my Iphone 5 S in there.
Telling people not to use them in public is removing the whole point of taking a mobile computing device with you.
Erm, thanks for not reading my, or the OP's post.
We didn't say don't take them with you, we said don't wander around with them out. Thieves look for easy targets and people too engrossed in their Idevice are extremely easy targets.
It's a basic self preservation measure, like not accepting candy from strangers.
Hey, but you're proving my point for me. A lot of first worlders don't have a clue about how to act in a country where theft is prevalent.