Man Backed for Using 'Insulting' Phone Wallpapers to Deter Nosy Co-workers

A man found support online after he created "insulting" and "offensive" wallpapers that triggered his co-workers after they repeatedly snooped on his phone at work.

The now-viral Reddit post, titled, "AITA for using 'insulting' wallpapers for my phone's home screen after my coworkers kept touching it?" has been upvoted 12,800 times since it was shared on June 27. Redditor @throw3447567 shared the post to the subreddit "Am I the A**hole?" garnering 1,600 comments since it was posted.

The use of mobile devices throughout the world has increased in recent years, with many people bringing their phones everywhere they go. This year, 15.96 billion devices are projected to be used throughout the world, and that number is expected to climb in 2023 and 2024, according to Statista.

There are a lot of ways to keep smartphones safe, such as pins, patterns with a swipe of a finger, face ID, fingerprint scanning, and traditional passwords, but that doesn't mean everyone utilizes them.

Although a password can be a strong way to deter unwanted eyes from getting a glimpse at your phone, Pew Research Center found that 39 percent of respondents have a difficult time keeping track of them. In addition, 28 percent don't use any form of a screen lock on their phone at all.

Woman using phone
A man was backed online for using "insulting" wallpapers to deter his nosy co-workers. RIDOFRANZ/GETTY

The Post

The original poster (OP) is a 28-year-old man, who has been working at his current company for six months. He revealed his male co-workers are "decent," but he "noticed a pattern" with a few of his female co-workers opening and looking through his phone when they get the chance, such as when he's using the bathroom or in a meeting.

The Redditor has caught the women three different times doing it. Although they didn't take anything or open up any of his apps, he still didn't know why they kept "snooping."

The man continued: "I wanted to tackle this issue in a non-confrontational way since they're both beyond sweet except for this snooping thing. So, what I did was set up 'insulting' or 'offensive' wallpapers (some of them I made myself) that say, 'Don't touch my phone a**hole/muggle/weirdo,' or 'I can see you' with John Cena waving his hand, or "B_/_ don't touch my phone with a middle finger in the middle of the screen."

He relayed it was "just an experiment," but the move "got to them." His female co-workers claimed that he had "offended them" personally and called them names. He told them they didn't have any business touching his phone, but they "made excuses" saying they were attempting to borrow his charger or check the time.

The office became divided on the subject, and some said he should've come to the women if he had a problem. Meanwhile, others said he was "justified," and that no one gets to "control" what wallpapers he uses. The women expect a "formal apology," but the man refused to do so.

In a comment, the OP revealed he has a "swipe lock" on his phone, adding, "I'm bad at remembering passwords, so I don't use them. They could still see it though."

Redditors React

Comments poured in, with the majority of people siding with the OP. One Redditor's comment received 10,900 upvotes on its own, weighing in with NTA, or not the a**hole, as their verdict

"Keep your hands off and nose out of things that aren't yours," they said.

One user pointed out the women wouldn't have seen the "'offensive' wallpaper at all if they hadn't been snooping. The punishment perfectly fits the crime. They chose to do something nosy and invasive and were rightfully called out as a result."

Some people urged the OP to get some type of security for his phone. "OP, I'm begging you to lock your phone," one user said. "You said in comments that you have trouble remembering passwords, but even a crappy password like 'your name' or '1234' is better than nothing, or a fingerprint lock. NTA, but wtf are they looking at on your phone? That's creepy."

Others urged the OP to let human resources know what's going on. "NTA [not the a**hole], a Redditor said. "You should report them to HR before they report you for 'offending them on a personal level' of whatever else they will make of it."

Another Redditor agreed, saying it's an "HR issue," as "they're touching and snooping through your personal s**t. With that being said, just lock your phone dude lmao. Good luck to them getting an apology from you."

People called out the man's female co-workers for snooping. "It is they that are being the a**holes by invading your private space while you are away," a user said. "Be careful around these coworkers, as they have demonstrated they cannot be trusted. Be careful what you say to them and what you do around them...They might use these things against you someday, as they are not trustworthy people to begin with."

A Redditor seemingly approved of the OP's move with the wallpapers. "NTA. This is such a creative and hilarious way of dealing with snoopy people," they said. "Why can't people keep their grubby mitts to themselves?"

Newsweek reached out to Redditor @throw3447567 for comment.

This isn't the only viral moment involving work-related situations. This month, a groom fumed after his time-off request for his wedding day was rejected. Meanwhile, a company that criticized a worker for coming in and leaving on time has sparked a debate. In addition, the internet last month bashed an "entitled" boss for not speaking to an employee who resigned.