7 Tips for Modern Mobile Phone Etiquette

Mobile phones are a modern marvel. These little devices can keep us connected to the rest of the world, including all of our favorite people, every hour of every day. You can take pictures, play music, talk or text or browse the web…but remember, it’s always possible to have too much of a good thing.

Here are 7 tips to keep our manners intact while we stay connected and high-tech.

Silence Your Phone In Sound-sensitive Places

Movies are so great because they can transport us away from life and really draw us into the story for a while. So, what happens when a few bars of the latest pop song blare out in the middle of a poignant scene? Not just the person receiving the call, but everyone in the theater snaps out of the movie world. It goes for any kind of ringtone, and text message notification sounds could even be worse because they are heard every time you receive a text.

Other places where polite people silence their phones:

  • Restaurants
  • Meetings
  • Classrooms
  • Libraries

Text and Call During Active Daytime Hours

Don’t use your mobile phone to casually contact people at very late or early hours; you might disturb the person on the other side. Remember that thanks to applications, many people use their mobile phone for a number of tasks, including an alarm clock. Even though the device is still on, it doesn’t necessarily mean they want to receive a text or call at any hour. When in doubt, ask your friends when it is a good time to call or text. They’ll be glad that you’re so considerate!

Be Considerate of Strangers, Too

Where phones are concerned, think of the people around and avoid making them a captive audience! When in confined spaces like elevators and public transportation, limit your conversations to text messaging. Even then, be sure to turn the notification sounds to silent mode.

Go silent or use headphones if you…

  • Play music
  • Play a game
  • Do anything else that makes electronic noise

Keep Your Personal Conversation Private

As a basic rule of thumb, try to keep calls brief when you talk on your mobile phone in public and don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to a child or your grandmother. In a public place, just about anybody, including people you know, who walks by can hear every word you say. Somehow, that thought is more embarrassing than broadcasting your private conversation to a big crowd. What you say can be transmitted as clearly as if you’d posted it as your status on a social networking site!

Avoid Text-based Sarcasm

Sarcastic comments in text messages are a concern, not because they meant to be rude, but because people mistake them for rudeness so easily. This may sound silly, but face-to-face sarcasm is all about the tone, not the words. Text has no tone at all, so sarcastic comments come across as serious. A handy way to keep sarcastic texts lighthearted is to include emoticons.

Know When to Put the Phone Away

Remember that “too much of a good thing” part? As great as mobile phones are at keeping us connected to everyone else, using them constantly can degrade our interactions with people face-to-face. It’s rude to continue to talk on your phone in just about any situation where you need to interact one-on-one.

Some examples:

  • Grocery checkout lines
  • Ordering at restaurants
  • Eating at restaurants
  • On a date, anywhere

Handle Calls Politely

Ideally, the phone should be silenced or turned off entirely in situations where it would disrupt things. If you do find yourself with a ringing phone, how you handle the situation says a lot about your etiquette as well. The polite thing to do is to hit the ignore button and let the call go straight to your voice mail. If you continue to receive voice mail messages or repeated calls, it might be something urgent. In cases like these, it’s best to politely excuse yourself and go somewhere more private to take the call.

Follow these basic tips, and you can enjoy your talking, texting, gaming and music listening without disrupting others as much. Have some great mobile phone etiquette tips? Feel free to share them in a comment!

Emily Green is a freelance writer and tech-lover. She suggests that whether you need to find information on prepaid cell phones, or are already in a relationship with your current device, to keep your mobile phone manners in mind.