Cell phones have revolutionized the way we communicate in today’s society. They allow us the ability to keep in constant contact with each other and are invaluable in emergency situations. However, we need to remember that when using cell phones, just like any other form of communication, we need to show honor, dignity and respect to the person we are communicating, and to others around us. It is also very important to learn some basic ground rules so you can gain a knowledge and understanding of electronic etiquette. Always remember, the use of electronic media is a privilege, not a right. Listed below are simple rules that will help to master politeness when using a cell phone.
1. Stay safe.
• Try not to use the cell phone in a moving vehicle. Ringing cell phones and phone conversations are disruptive to the driver.
2. Show respect.
• Never bring a cell phone to the dinner table. Always turn your phone off during meal time.
• Do not receive calls when you have a guest or you are visiting with others – It’s rude!
• Do not ignore a retail clerk because you are using a cell phone.
• Children should keep parents informed of their cell phone “buddies list.” Parents should be informed who is calling their child and who their child is calling.
3. Honor privacy.
• Never place phone calls during mealtime or late at night.
• If you are on a speaker phone, always inform the person you are talking with. It respects the person’s privacy.
4. Don’t disturb.
• Make sure your cell phone is on silent mode in movies, plays, or other quiet public activities.
5. Avoid “cell yell.”
• People tend to speak more loudly than normal on their cell phone and this can be very distracting to others. Use your regular conversational tone and keep the ringer volume low when in public.
6. Aim for silence.
• When others are present, use silent or vibrating options, or turn off the phone.
7. Keep your distance.
• Move to a location where others cannot hear your conversation.
8. Give an explanation.
• If you must keep your phone on, explain the reason to those around you, and excuse yourself when the call comes in.
9. Manage your time.
• Whenever possible, use voice mail for incoming calls and return them at a convenient place and time.
• Use Text Messaging to send and receive messages without saying a single word.
10. Don’t be a show off.
• Never use a cell phone to impress others.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and as electronic media evolves, new electronic etiquette rules will certainly be needed. However, if we practice the above ten rules, we will certain show honor, dignity and respect to the person we are communicating, and to others around us.