Top 8 tips for National Cellphone Courtesy Month
Cellphone do's and don'ts
Have you been on summer vacation with family, let’s say walking along the rim of the Grand Canyon, and briefly thought about soaking in the views without grabbing your cellphone to snap photos or a video?
Maybe your young daughter or son was tugging on your shorts, begging you to put the phone away for some quality time as you gazed off into the distance at the rock formations or peered down at the Colorado River flowing through the canyon.
Well, if you haven’t had such an experience, it is still good to remember that July marks the 18th anniversary of National Cellphone Courtesy Month.
And, as Texas-based cross-cultural consultant Sharon Schweitzer penned in her 2016 column, “Drop the Call: Top 8 Tips for National Cell Phone Courtesy Month,” now is “the perfect time to reflect on your mobile phone habits” by spending “a little more time in the present moment.”
Here are Schweitzer’s eight tips. …
• Put down your cellphone — Schweitzer recommends putting your phone on a table or desk during business meetings, dates or when you’re out with friends.
• Silence your cellphone — Schweitzer says it is respectful to turn off your phone before meetings, meals and dates. If you can’t turn off your phone, set it to silent or vibrate.
• Remember the exceptions — Schweitzer says you can’t expect certain people to turn off their phones. Those people include doctors, nurses, first responders and health care providers; babysitters with infants or persons with caregivers; people momentarily sharing photos; and those researching important requests, such as finding directions to places.
• Excuse yourself to take an emergency call — When you need to take an emergency call at a gathering, Schweitzer says apologizing and excusing yourself momentarily works the best.
• Consider content carefully — Once you send texts or tweets or post things on the web, it is hard to reel them back in, even if you delete them. Schweitzer says it is imperative to use common sense, refrain from profanity and avoid posting or writing messages while drinking alcohol. Nationaldaycalendar.com, in its description of National Cellphone Courtesy Month, asks users before pressing the button: Will I regret sending this later? Am I angry? Will this hurt someone? Is this appropriate? Will this affect my job or relationship?
• Use the 10-foot rule — At places of worship, medical offices, libraries, theaters or hospitals, Schweitzer recommends making or taking a call 10 feet away from the building and its windows. “No one wants to see pacing or gesturing during your convo,” she adds. “Refrain from confidential conversations on planes, trains and automobiles.”
• Don’t drive and talk — In Prescott, Prescott Valley and the unincorporated areas of Yavapai County, it is illegal to manually use a cellphone while driving. Schweitzer recommends that “if you must use the phone, drive to a safe area away from traffic.”
• Don’t use a cellphone as a crutch — Schweitzer said it is polite to put away your cellphone when you meet people you don’t know, no matter where you are or how uncomfortable you may be.
ABOUT CELLPHONE COURTESY MONTH
Nationaldaycalendar.com, which lists more than 1,500 national days of celebration in America, says to log on to Twitter and use the hashtag #CellPhoneCourtesyMonth if you have a thought or idea about appropriate cellphone behavior.
The website notes that Jacqueline Whitmore, a Palm Beach, Florida, manners expert, created National Cellphone Courtesy Month with help from the Sprint Corporation to improve phone etiquette.
Doug Cook is a reporter for The Daily Courier. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039. Follow him on Twitter: @dougout_dc.