Cell Phone Etiquette For Parents & Kids

Cell Phone Etiquette For Parents & Kids
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Remember a time when we didn't all have cell phones and knew how to behave properly? Me neither, but these lessons in cell phone etiquette will help us all.

• Technology: Cell Phone • Technology: Tips & Tricks

It's hard to believe that there was a time before we were all constantly connected via our smart phones. It wasn't long ago that using the phone meant being attached to a cord and a wall, not having an LCD screen to look at, having to talk rather than text, and having to actually remember phone numbers. Wow, we've come so far.

Of course, with that evolution in technology has come a big price in terms of a loss of common sense when it comes to etiquette. Too many of us think that it's okay to use our phones anyway and anywhere we want. As soon as we see that comforting glow from our cell screens we seem to throw common sense and common decency out the window.

Well let's get back to a slightly more civilized time by following some common sense rules to smart phone etiquette.

When Driving
It's just flat out stupid to text when driving, even at a red light. In fact, it's actually illegally as well. But it shouldn't have to be illegal for you to know better. If you're driving, just leave your phone alone. The same applies to phone calls as chances are good that your phone call isn't as important as you think. Even with a hands free set, just get off the phone and drive already.

When Talking
If you're having a conversation with somebody then stay off your phone. It's incredibly rude to the other person if you're playing around on your mobile device. It's like a slap in the face to that person so just don't do it. Focus on the conversation and play with your phone later.

Loud Talking
When you do talk on your phone, keep your voice volume in check. You don't need to shout to talk on a phone. If the other person can't hear you and you must speak loudly, then move to a place where nobody else will hear you.

Inappropriate Conversations
If you must talk around other people, keep your conversation clean. That means no swearing, no sexually related conversations, and nothing emotional.

Ring Tones
You're phone doesn't need to blast your ring tone at maximum volume for the entire world to hear. That's why it has a vibrate function. At the same time, keep your ring tone simple. We don't need to hear some horrible rap song that's swearing up a storm when your Grammy calls you.

If you're out in public or any place that isn't your home or car, then it's simply not acceptable to use speaker phone. The general public shouldn't have to listen to your conversation with Aunt Molly.

Making Dinner
Your smartphone is a germ paradise so don't every touch a phone while preparing food. If you do use your phone, be sure to wash your hands with soap when done and before resume any food preparation work.

At The Dinner Table
Phones should never be used at the dinner table. Dinner is a time for the family to get together and talk about their day and enjoy a little down time. Nothing is so important that you need to use a phone at the table so ban them from coming to the table in the first place! Make a rule that phones go on silent and left in another room during meal times.

While Doing Homework
It's hard enough to keep kids focused after a long day at school. The last thing they need is a cellphone distraction. This includes their phone as well as your phone. Put them on silent and then keep them away from the homework area.

Your cell phone is a disgustingly filthy device already. It really is, and you should clean it often. But you should never, ever use your phone in a bathroom. Not in your home bathroom, and certainly not in a public bathroom. It's beyond disgusting to even take it out of your pocket in a bathroom. Don't touch it.

Watching TV
If you're watching television or a movie it's often tempting to pick up the phone and see what's new out there. But this is annoying to others around you and may even be stressful to yourself. A TV and a phone make for too many distractions. Go with the "one screen at a time" rule and either surf on your phone or watch TV, but not both.

Restaurant - Calls
It's not acceptable to take or make a phone call in a restaurant. Period. If you need to do so then step outside first, before taking or making the call. Yes, even if somebody calls you you can hit the hang up / ignore button to silence your phone, then step outside to call them back. If you're on a call when you get to a restaurant then finish the call before you go inside.

Restaurant - Kids & Games
I don't think cell phones in restaurants are good at all, but I'm okay making an exceptions for young kids. See, I'd love your kids to be well behaved at all times but I know that isn't possible. So it's okay to let them play on a phone while waiting for food to arrive if that keeps them calm and quiet. But, and there is a big but here, the volume needs to be 100% off. No noise is acceptable. None. Nada. Zip. I don't want to hear Bob The Builder on your phone or the sound of a Pick Axe chipping away at some granite in Minecraft. Period. No exceptions.

If you're going to watch a movie or play a game on your phone (or tablet or laptop) during a plane flight then use headphones or ear buds or turn the music down to 0. This goes for your kids too, we don't want to hear beeps and boops for the next six hours. When the plane lands and you can use your phone, keep it on silent and sends texts to let people know you landed.

At Work
Your co-workers don't need to hear your call about about your awesome upcoming weekend plans. They certainly don't need to hear the details of that lab work you had done. Wait for a break and take your non-work calls outside, away from work.

Quiet Zones
If you're going to a movie, theater, play, library, church, doctor's office, or other such "quiet zone", then shut your phone off before you enter. It should either be off or completely on silent with no vibrate option. Airplane mode is a good option if you don't want to do a full shut down.

This one should be obvious, but don't walk while texting. Did you know that people actually get hurt or die from things like being hit by a car because they were looking at their phone while walking? It happens all the time! Part of me almost doesn't want to list this one because there's an argument for survival of the fittest as well as Darwinism here. But there it is, on our official cell phone etiquette list so you can better yourself.

If you're over 80 or a business then you are allowed to leave somebody a voicemail. For the rest of us, please don't. If you don't get us on the phone just hang up and try later or text us a message instead. Nobody likes voicemail.

Group Texts
These need to be used sparingly. You see, it's often not the original group text that is the problem but the 58 replies that come after it as people "reply all". It's annoying so keep your group texts as infrequent as possible and with as small of a recipient list as possible.

Bluetooth Headset
Just say no to using Bluetooth headsets and ear pieces outside of your office. You're not that important, your calls aren't that important. Leaving one of these goofy devices stuck in your ear while you do your grocery shopping just makes you look like a fool. If you need one for work then make sure it stays at the office when you leave.