Constant communication is at one’s fingertips. This modern era has made cellphones a staple in almost everyone’s life. Though cellphones have been around for decades, the evolution from the first mobile phone to the smartphone has caused the use of cellphones to change. Social networking, personal communication and work and school have all become everyday and normal uses.
With this change, cellphone users must adopt a kind of etiquette for cellphone use. When is it alright to leave a cellphone on? Is it acceptable to text at dinner, or while walking across campus?
I think that there are several general guidelines that should be followed.
1. If asked to turn a phone off, or to silent, do so. This is non-negotiable. Teachers deserve respect. So give them attention during class, and keep that cellphone in a backpack. If asked in a formal setting, respect the request.
2. Don’t have private conversations in public places. Think about it this way: even if someone personally doesn’t mind other people hearing about his or her personal life, other people might not want to hear it. So, speak softly, or take it outside.
3. Don’t talk on the phone in the bathroom. This one consists of a few reasons. First, no one wants to hear about great-aunt Martha’s family problems while trying to relieve themselves. Alternatively, someone a few stalls over might think they’re being talked to and try and solve great-aunt Martha’s problems. Or, that someone might be great-aunt Martha.
4. Follow the laws of the land. Don’t talk on the phone while driving. Don’t text and drive. End of story.
5. Obey the rules of the workplace. Trust me on this one; if a boss wants the cellphone out of sight, it’s in the best interests of any employees to keep it out of sight.
6. Don’t talk or text at the dinner table. This applies to restaurants, at home and at a friends house; unless by oneself, give full attention to whomever is around.
7. Keep it in a pocket while ordering. Just because they are there to serve doesn’t mean they don’t have to be treated well. While ordering food at a restaurant or going through the checkout line at a grocery store, be respectful of the people serving.
8. When walking, don’t look down. Remember in kindergarten when we learned to look both ways before crossing the street? Guess what—that still applies! Plus, it’s extremely frustrating to nearly run into people because they were too busy texting to pay attention to where they were going.
9. Keep your phone quiet. Unless in the privacy of a home, or a situation with close friends, keep ringtones relatively quiet, and try to avoid flashy, obnoxious or embarrassing ringtones. Even if one is not in the middle of a conversation, it’s not polite to interrupt someone else’s.
10. Remember the cardinal rule about online privacy – it isn’t. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and even texting all have the potential to be made public and may be seen by people it’s not intended to be seen by.
Follow these rules and cellphone users will be fine. If it seems overwhelming to remember this many rules, I suggest following one simple principle: Be courteous of others. Remember that, and no one will be annoyed.
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