Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July is National Cellphone Courtesy month

Have you ever found yourself at a store checkout and the person in front of you is on the phone and making the cashier (and you) wait?

Just today, a lady had the music on her phone blasting while she shopped. Really.

How about the movies? We watch the previews and the dancing characters tell us to turn off our phones. So why all of a sudden does the person a few rows down need to check for messages and blind you with that bright phone light? And where there's one, more follow suit.

July is National Cellphone Courtesy month and U.S. Cellular is celebrating by promoting positive cell phone etiquette.

Technology can enable better moments through simplifying and enhancing your life. We all want to be able to reached by family members and friends.

In my own personal life, when visiting with my mom who is in assisted living, we are concentrating on spending time with her and no one talks on their phone and texts can wait until we leave. When my son and I go for a neighborhood walk, he does get text messages but generally waits to talk/text to friends until we are back home, avoiding the evil eye.

My husband is self-employed so he relies on his U.S. Cellular iPhone 5s and 4G LTE network to be connected to his customers.

According to a recent U.S. Cellular survey, 37 percent of users say others get upset with them for phone use, while 63 percent say they get upset at others for phone use.  {Between Nov. 15 and Dec. 2, 2013, 500 nationally representative online interviews were conducted among smartphone users in partnership with Maritz Research.]

A Pew Research survey found that 67 percent of cellphone owners find themselves checking their phones for messages, alerts or calls – even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating. That means a lot of people are checking devices at any given time or place, and since July is National Cellphone Courtesy Month it is the perfect time to talk about the expectations and practices of wireless device users of all ages.

As may be expected smartphone owners who are over the age of 54 have stronger etiquette beliefs than younger users. Among adults 55-64, 82 percent think it is rude to check your phone while talking with someone else, and 80 percent think it is rude to check while dining.

63 percent of users 18-34 think it is rude to be on your phone while talking to someone else, while 57 percent think it is rude to check while dining.

Women are more likely to prefer texting over men. They are also more likely to have checked or used their phone to avoid conversations.

63 percent of people believe that no one gets upset at them for their phone use.This is the same proportion that sometimes gets upset with others for using their phone or tablet.

Tips for improving courtesy by busy cellphone users:

Set the ground rules. If you have plans to meet a relative for dinner or spend happy hour with a group of friends, discuss expectations for phone use. By determining technology use before the gathering, everyone is able to enjoy the occasion. We're making plans to celebrate a relative's birthday at a restaurant and we plan on leaving the phones off. Enjoy better moments with your family!

Seek to understand. Focus on similarities instead of differences and set a goal to understand those around you. By understanding other’s wireless device use, you’ll be more courteous of their expectations.

Don’t be a buzz kill. Putting a phone on vibrate during a meeting or event can be a good idea, as vibration mode is meant to alert only you. However, it can distract others if the phone is placed on a table in a meeting or meal. Put the phone in a pocket, where it can alert you to a call but isn’t disturbing others, please!. If you forget to turn off the ringer and get an unexpected call, phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 stop ringing by simply flipping over the device.

Avoid being blinded by the light. Adjust screen brightness prior to entering a dimly lit space, such as a restaurant, recital or school play. This allows you to use the device to take photos or use social media without disturbing those around you. Now, I don't use social media at a school function, only taking photos if allowed and sharing them when function is over. At my son's school open house last year, a father took a phone call during one of the classroom teacher information sessions. He walked to the side of the room, should have left the classroom. There is a reason phones have an off, or silent button. Great reason to use it. Went to a school play and proud parents recording the video, but their phone is in others way of enjoying the show and hard work on the part of the kids as well. I know they want to share it with others, but be respectful of those around you.

Do you have any tips to add to this list? Please share them with me below in the comments section.

And don't forget last months post! Use a parent-child cellphone agreement that you can customize.

Disclosure: I have been compensated for my posts. All opinions expressed are my own.

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