WASHINGTON — Between texting, tweeting and typing, cellphones can be distracting, but this month, people are being encouraged to practice courteous cellphone use.
July is National Cellphone Courtesy Month.
International etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore founded the month in 2002 as a way to get people to become aware of their cellphone use and respectful of their surroundings.
On her blog, she offers the following tips to practice during National Cellphone Courtesy Month:
- Be all there. When you’re in busy areas, part of a get-together or in a meeting, be present and engaged by letting calls go to voicemail. Don’t be a disruption by chatting or texting. In some instances, turning off your cellphone is the best way to go.
- Be private. Don’t discuss private or confidential information in public.
- Stay cool. When having a phone call in public, don’t display anger or shout. Emotional conversations are best saved for behind closed doors.
- Put it on vibrate. When at places such as religious services, meetings, restaurants, theaters or sporting events, put your phone on silent or vibrate so that it doesn’t cause a disruption.
- Don’t “cell yell.” When you’re on the phone, talk at a normal volume.
- Follow the rules. Pay attention to posted signs and instructions that restrict phone use, such as hospitals or airplanes.
- Excuse yourself. If you are expecting a call, let the people you’re with know it. When the call comes, excuse yourself politely. The people you are spending time with should take precedence over calls you want to make or receive.
- Texting works. Sending a text message can help you stay connected while still being present, but don’t overdo it either. Texting too much is disrespectful, as well.
- Watch and listen discreetly. If you’re planning to stream video or listen to music on your cellphone, make sure you adjust the volume accordingly or wear earphones.
- No speaker phone. When around other people, don’t use speaker phone and turn off your phone’s walkie-talkie function. It’s less of a distraction and respects your contact’s privacy.
- Help out others. Use your cellphone to help others in times of emergency.
- Don’t combine driving. Use a hands-free device if driving and don’t answer calls while in heavy traffic or in hazardous driving conditions. Don’t text and drive and always make safety the highest priority.
- Tell others. Tell friends and family members about good cellphone manners.
Take a quiz to test your cellphone etiquette: