Top Ten Cell Phone Manners
Cell phones are great—they keep us in touch with friends and family and can be life savers in an emergency.
But they can also be annoying if not used thoughtfully.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be on all the time and you don’t always have to answer it immediately. Learn to use your phone’s features like silent ring, vibrate and voicemail to handle the times when your phone would be bothering others if it rang and you answered it. (By the way, we give this same advice to adults, too!)
- Be in control of your phone, don't let it control you! Taking a call signals that the person you are with is less important than the person calling. If that’s not the impression you want to make, don’t take the call—the caller can always leave you a voicemail.
- Speak softly. Keep you voice low whenever you're in the presence of others. You want to be considerate and avoid disturbing those around you. For some reason, people’s ‘phone voices’ are always louder than the voice they use in normal conversation. Add to that the noise of a busy sidewalk or the background noise of a public place, and the urge to shout can become overwhelming for the person on the other end of the conversation as well. Remember—you’re the one fighting to hear over the noise, not the person you’re speaking with. So give everyone a break, and remember to tone it down.
- Be courteous to those you are with; turn off your phone if it will be interrupting a conversation or activity. If you don't want your friends or relatives to think that your mobile device matters more to you than they do, then don't make or take calls when you're in the middle of a conversation. By doing so, you're making whoever you're with feel second best.
- Watch your language, especially when others can overhear you. Oblivious to those around them. Some cell phone users feel free to pepper their conversation with obscenities. The people nearby may try not to listen, but it's hard to ignore.
- Avoid talking about personal problems in a public place. Talking about personal problems in a public place can make those around you feel highly uncomfortable and can be embarrassing for you. Make sure you save these conversations for home or another private place.
- If it must be on and it could bother others, use the silent ring mode and move away to talk. If you must be alerted to a call, put your device on silent ring or vibrate, and check your caller ID or voice mail later. If you must take a call, wherever you are, move to a private space and speak as quietly as you can. If you’re with a group, simply excuse yourself for a few minutes: “Sorry, I need to take this call. I’ll be right back.” Then keep the call as brief as possible.
- Don’t make calls in a library, theater, church or from your table in a restaurant. Without exception, turn your device off in a house of worship, restaurant, or theater; during a meeting or presentation; or any time its use is likely to disturb others.
- Don’t text during class or a meeting at your job. It is important to ensure that you give those in your presence your full attention. Texting during class or in meetings is distracting for others, but it is distracting for you as well, and ultimately causes you to miss out on potentially significant and crucial information.
- Private info can be forwarded, so don’t text it. Don't text anything confidential, private, or potentially embarrassing. You never know when your message might get sent to the wrong person or forwarded. Not to mention if someone finds your lost phone.
- NEVER drive and phone at the same time. Recent studies have shown that people who are talking, texting, or otherwise using a cellphone while driving are significantly slower to react to a red light and are at least four times as likely to be involved in an accident. Many states have outlawed cell phone use while driving. Hands-free phones may lessen the risk somewhat, but the smartest choice is to pull into a parking area and stop before making a call.
Download a handy tip sheet below!