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.

Greg Smith is President and CEO of Privus Mobile.

(11) comments

Miss Priss

I'm going to wallpaper this in my coworker's office next to mine. The man can't carry on a conversation with anyone without constantly checking his phone.... I've started asking him if he's really a brain surgeon or something the way he responds to that phone.

He doesn't get it and he never will!

Carlos Ponce

Thank you for this column. I personally do not have a problem with cell phones (I don't own one). But I know many who are addicted to their use. Remember OJ Simpson's lawyer, Johnny Cochran? Tiffany Cochran, his daughter, asked how he got a brain tumor from which he died in 2005. Los Angeles neurosurgeon Dr. Keith Black suggested cell phone use contributed to formation of his brain tumor.

Jim Forsythe

The below reports suggest that cell phones don't cause brain tumors. Of course you can find places that say they do Some of the other articles suggest that it would take 24 hour use a day to causes brain tumors. Other talked about the RF wave is between a TV and a Microwave, in amount of RF it omits. So take Your pick on what to believe.

"## Tokyo Women's Medical University compared phone use in 322 brain cancer patients with 683 healthy people and found that regularly using a mobile did not significantly affect the likelihood of getting brain cancer. "Using our newly developed and more accurate techniques, we found no association between mobile phone use and cancer, providing more evidence to suggest they don't cause brain cancer," Naohito Yamaguchi, who led the research, said. His team's findings were published in the British Journal of Cancer."

"##American Cancer Society - "Considerable research has also found no clear association between any other electronic consumer products and cancer. Cell phones, microwave ovens and related appliances emit low-frequency radiation—the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that includes radio waves and radar. Ionizing radiation such as gamma rays and X-rays can increase cancer risk by causing changes to DNA in cells of the body. Low frequency, non-ionizing radiation does not cause these DNA changes"

##National Institute of Health / National Cancer Institute - April 2000. "There was no evidence of higher brain tumor risk among people who use hand-held cellular phones compared to those who do not use them."

Carlos Ponce

Johnny Cochran was a lawyer and probably had a cell phone when they first came on the market and probably used it more than the average person. The jury is still out on this one:
Date:January 19, 2011
Source:Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Summary:Research suggests that long-term exposure to microwaves from cellular phones may lead to an increased risk of brain tumors. Although debate continues, independent studies with long-term follow-up strongly suggest an increased risk of brain tumors related to the use of cellular or cordless phones.
A new study published in the journal of British Occupational and Environmental Medicine shows heavy cell phone use triples the risk of developing brain tumors.
I have also read reports that cell phone use among children should be limited due to a suspected risk.
If you are thick skulled, don't worry Bigjim!

Jim Forsythe

Carlos I have not called You names , so can You please not sink to that low . As I said in last post take Your pick on what to believe as You can find studies that will take either side.

Carlos Ponce

No name calling here Bigjim! People with thicker craniums probably won't have to worry about radiation penetrating the brain. Children are more susceptible because their skulls haven't melded yet. You're too sensitive![beam]

Jim Forsythe

As I asked nice, please :don't call me thick skulled. When You place a person on the same line as insult, it's not nice. Please don't give me that " If you are thick skulled, don't worry Bigjim" was not aimed at me

"Please read below and tell me You were trying to be nice to me! Please don't get into a flame war. Please don't become a flamers.


a. 1. Having a thick skull; hence, dull; heavy; stupid; slow to learn.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by C. & G. Merriam Co.

Thesaurus Legend: Synonyms Related Words Antonyms
Adj. 1. Thick-skulled - (used informally) stupid thick-skulled - (used informally) stupid
blockheaded, boneheaded, domical, dunces, fat headed, logger headed, thickheaded, wooden-headed, thick
stupid - lacking or marked by lack of intellectual acuity

Carlos Ponce

No insult was intended, that is why I used the phrase "thicker cranium" in my reply because I sensed you misinterpreted my intent. And notice I did not use a hyphen in my post. Your definition uses a hyphen, different from what I posted. If you want an apology, I apologize. But I assure you, I intended no insult. But if you read the links concerning children you will note that children are at greater risk than adults because of cranial development. Peace be with you.

Miceal O'Laochdha

N ice try with a lengthy list of desirable behavior improvements but, I am afraid the terms: "cell phone" and "etiquette" are mutually exclusive.

Our only remaining hope is social ostracism of offensive cell phone users but, it may well be that they already outnumber rational humans.

Next step: caves in the hills...

Lars Faltskog

Response to carlosrponce posted at 8:25 am on Wed, Jul 30, 2014,
Response to Bigjim posted at 6:33 pm on Thu, Jul 31, 2014:

Carlos, you don't own a cellphone? My stars, what do you do when you get in your car and perhaps you have a flat tire or overheated radiator, and you have no way to call AAA? I think years ago, they were a "luxury", but cellphones now are not only handy, but make quality of life so much better. BTW, I no longer have a "landline" b/c I find landlines non-useful, esp. since you can take care of domestic household business while you're driving to pick up some beef jerky and Fiddle Faddle at the local Krogers.

As for cancer-causing cellphones. OMG...I think that one would have to be a really heavy user, and have a predispositionative propensity of getting the disease. That is, some folks are genetically predisposed to befall upon cancer, etc. At best, a cellphone being a contributing factor, maybe. Brain tumor causes, from what I hear, are from a buildup of extra cells that won't "die"....so perhaps cellphone use, consuming too much processed food, and environment all come in play. Did y'all hear about the hopeful pre-detection of suicide? That is, the scientists think a blood sample can determine with 80 percent accuracy someone with propensity to commit suicide.

Carlos Ponce

"My stars, what do you do when you get in your car and perhaps you have a flat tire or overheated radiator, and you have no way to call AAA?"
Flat tire -get out the jack and fix it. Overheated radiator- Never a problem, I regularly check my car and maintain correct fluids as my daddy taught me. Call AAA, I'm not a member. And some are addicted to cell phone use. I've lived on this planet close to 60 years and haven't needed one so far.
"I got no deeds to do, no promises to keep
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning-time drop all its petals on me
Life I love you, all is groovy!"

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