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Is cellphone etiquette a thing of the past? - The Galveston County Daily News: Guest Columns

September 27, 2016

Guest column Is cellphone etiquette a thing of the past?

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Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 12:30 am

Cellphones have become so prevalent in our everyday lives that most people don’t think twice about pulling out their phone in public, in social situations or even worse, while driving. 

In honor of July being National Cellphone Courtesy Month, here are some tips to consider when using cellphones in public to encourage users to be more respectful of their surroundings:

• Respect other’s personal space. One of the fastest ways to irritate another person is to talk too loudly on your phone. Some information is too sensitive to share in openly public places. No one wants to overhear your lab results from the doctor or how you caught your spouse cheating. 

You would be surprised how quietly you can speak into your phone and yet others can still clearly hear you. Therefore, try to keep a comfortable distance from others when talking on the phone if possible, especially if it’s a private conversation. 

If in an enclosed space, such as a crowded bus or subway, ask the person on the other end of the phone to call back later or simply text them. This can also be extended to places where it is not appropriate to be talking on a cellphone, such as libraries or museums.

• Engage in face-to-face conversations. Nowadays, multitasking has become the norm. Most people will continue to text or take calls even when they are in the company of others, whether at dinner with a friend, during family gatherings or even in meetings at work. However, most people will find this action to be rude and disrespectful. 

To be considerate, try to keep the texting to a minimum, if at all, and only take a call if it is an emergency. Otherwise, focus on the people you’re with — instead of the phone.

• Put the cellphone down and drive. Being distracted by a cellphone while driving is not only discourteous to others, but it’s also very dangerous. In fact, texting while driving increases the likelihood of a crash by 23 times, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. However, there are solutions available to problems like these. 

Drivers can still feel connected while on the road by utilizing smartphone apps that audibly announce who is calling or texting, allowing you to know if it’s necessary to pull over immediately to respond or wait until you’ve arrived at your destination. By focusing on the road ahead instead of the incoming call or text, drivers are not being a hazard to those around them and can avoid causing an accident.

No matter what the situation is, people should always be courteous and respectful of others when talking or texting on their cellphones. 

These simple tips are easy to follow and if implemented will produce more courteous and really, happier people.