Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cell Phones and Manners

They are everywhere… No longer just a means of communication, they have often become appendages that cover ears. Found all over the world, they vary in size, width, color and shape. Some have bling, others sing and almost everyone will ring! Yes, the cell phone is here to stay.

Holiday cell phone gifts must have been on the rise. People were checking and texting at the movies. A wedding was the location for individuals glancing at sports scores and online searches to bide time until the conclusion of the ceremony. The dinner table took on a special ambiance as phones rang and conversations ensued. Laps were the area of visual focus for twitters, tweeters and Facebook addicts in the family room. There was the woman yelling into the phone at her sister in the department store. The car became a prime place for filler-time conversations. With such widespread use and availability, are what constitutes proper cell phone etiquette?

1. When asked, please listen. Movie theatres, playhouses, museums, doctors’ offices and other public places often make special requests for patrons to turn phones to off. Ringing phones break concentration, change the tone and interfere with the need for quiet.
2. Be respectful of others sharing the space. One cannot always enjoy the privacy necessary for a conversation. When space is at a premium or there are too many people, (ie. the elevator) turn off the phone. Or at least put your conversation on hold for those few moments.
3. Adjust all volumes, phone rings and speaking voice. It’s frightening to have a phone break the silence with a ring loud enough to wake those in Australia! The other no-no is speaking in a voice loud enough for others to hear. Keep your conversation brief and speak in a low voice when absolutely necessary.
4. Turn the phone off with loved ones, friends and during meetings. Everyone is important. No one is cooler or busier because they are talking on a cell phone while socializing with other people. Try not to interrupt an engaging conversation by taking a call mid-sentence, during dinner, on a date or even job interview. The call can go right to voice mail and returned at a more convenient and private time.
5. Driving and texting don’t mix. Multi-task at home or at work, not when it can impact the lives of others. Many laws have been created regarding the use and limitation of cell phones. Check your state regulations. If there is urgency for a call, pull over to the side of the road. After all, the life you save could be mine!

Cell phones are a remarkable invention; however, there can be a point when they are overused, abused, an annoyance, a bother, an irritation and a nuisance. EtiKids classes offer children the opportunity to learn the etiquette of cell phone use. Kids learn how to answer, leave messages and explore the manners and responsibilities that are necessary to use and own a cell phone. It’s a social skill for all ages... Set an example for others, starting now. Courtesy is contagious!

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