Etiquette 101: Controlling Smart Phone Usage in Public

Smartphones have become highly essential devices for a lot of people worldwide. Statistics show that nearly 36% of the world’s population owns a smartphone. In the U.S. alone, 9 out of 10 Americans aged 34 years old and below are projected to have a smartphone in the coming year. For the age group, 50 and above, smartphone ownership rate has increased as well from 53% to 67% in the past years. This data has proven the major influence of technology across all generations. 

With all the advantages and benefits of smartphones to people’s daily lives, proper use and manners are oftentimes being neglected or ignored. Here are some basic guidelines on how to properly control your smartphone usage when in public. We hope that these helpful tips will likewise shed light on acceptable and reasonable smartphone use. 

  • While waiting in line

Be aware of using your smartphone while waiting in line in fast food, coffee shop or grocery store to avoid causing inconveniences to others. Keep in mind that these lines move pretty fast and it is important that you pay attention when it’s already your turn. You should be mindful enough to take your cue right away. As a courtesy to the people in line as well as to the person attending to you, keep your smartphone away for the meantime to avoid being the cause of delay. 

  • In public restrooms

There are reports which reveal that as much as 87% of people make or takes phone calls while doing their business in the restroom. It is perfectly fine to do this in your own home or within your personal space. However, doing this in a public toilet or restroom can be quite rude and bothersome for a lot of people who are also there doing their own business. Moreover, talking on the phone in confined spaces like the restroom can be very unethical. Aside from causing a distraction to others, it can also be scandalous because a lot of people can hear what you’re blabbing about. If you need to keep yourself busy while sitting on a public toilet, consider texting, chatting, or reading.

  • During social gatherings

Have you ever held a conversation with someone who cannot even focus on your topic because of his/her smartphone? Does having a smartphone on hand get in the way of having some quality time to catch up with friends? Using your smartphone in the middle of a social gathering is not just ethical. It is also downright rude, disrespectful and ungracious. Using your smartphone while somebody is talking to you during a social event is much like drawing that person away – an indirect manner of saying that you’re uninterested. Therefore, it is best to keep your cellphone away when holding a conversation with somebody, especially in social gatherings. Focus your attention to that person as a form of courtesy and try to socialize with other people to express your interest and respect for the occasion.

  • During meetings and conferences

Nothing is more annoying than the sound of your smartphone notifications right in the middle of a meeting or conference. This is something that you must keep in mind. While it may seem natural for you to hear the sound of your smartphone, this can cause a major distraction to important matters. In fact, other people will find this offensive and highly unprofessional. During meetings and conferences, it would be best to put your smartphone on silent mode to avoid causing a scene right in the middle of something important. 

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