Are Your Minding Your Smart Phone Ps and Qs?
Ahhhh, the commodity of having the information highway at our fingertips! While many of us are now accustomed to having easy access to smart phones, we sometimes need to make note of the level of respect and courtesy we extend to those not only on the other line, but also those around us.
Smart Phone Manners Equals Courtesy
When researching recommended manners for cell phone users, one might hop over to Emily’s Post, which includes a solid list of do’s and don’t s, that when boiled down, basically addresses the need to be considerate. An issue at hand, for many, however is the notion that many do not perceive themselves as actually being considerate cell phone users, so to expand on this topic we have compiled some suggestions that will help users determine what rules of etiquette are worth adhering to and, at the same time, which are reasonable to expect from others. Most importantly, how to go about expressing one’s desired code of conduct is an area that for many of us can be uncomfortable, yet necessary.
Tone it Down
Maintaining a reasonable volume is a big part of being courteous, so building an awareness of how loud you raise your voice or set your ringer is important. Anywhere where you can converse with an in-life companion is usually an OK venue to talk on the phone, but keep in mind that your true volume is typically louder than what you think it is! Also, touch base with your companions and establish an understanding as to how you are going to handle incoming calls, as dropping a conversation or activity to talk to another is smart to be done with considerable restraint. Very rarely is using the speaker setting a smart idea unless all company present is invited to be part of the conversation, as it becomes distracting noise pollution. Along that line, sending text messages and emails that could be considered offensive or uninvited create a “noise” in their own rite and build resentment.
Focus on Your Company
The threshold for tolerance in this area varies, but it is safe to say that, in general, people like to maintain eye contact and be present with their company without being preoccupied with the idea that they have to compete.
Another area that is worth discussing is the degree to which a driver is comfortable with his/her passengers using their phones. Some suggest that having multiple conversations at once, whether via text or voice, is disrespectful. On the other hand, there are various times when doing such is ideal, so long as the driver is not distracted or offended.
Etiquette expert Elaine Swann paints a clear picture in regards to bringing the phone to the dinner table. “Turn your phone completely off or put it on the vibrate function. Don’t disconnect from the individuals you are with by texting or perusing your social media sites at the table. Once you are seated at the table your phone should not be placed on top of the table. It should remain in your purse or your pocket unless you need to bring it out to use it…”
Share Your Preferences
This one can be tough, but it establishes good boundaries. If someone you spend time with takes social calls, leaving you on the back burner, speak up! If your friends amplify their voices so much one can hear them across the room (not at all uncommon), kindly let them know. If your kids walk around with their hands glued to their phones, set up specific times of the day that are designated as phone-free.
Acceptable practices vary from setting to setting and from person to person, but a couple things are certain: Extending some courtesy can go a long way and an in-real-life smile sure beats any emojie I have ever seen.