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Cell Phone Etiquette for Dummies

Owning a cell phone does not give you the right to talk anywhere you want.

Cell phone or mobile phone technology has revealed that many, many human beings are just plain dumb and witless. So many people think owning a cell phone gives them the right to speak on any subject in any place as loud as they want at any time of the day or night with no regard for people in close vicinity.

Texting while driving is a huge example of cell phone users not respecting the rights of others.

I have written a previous post entitled "Smart Phones, Dumb People" after witnessing two parents sitting on a log at the beach, both twiddling on their phones while their three children played at the water's edge, the youngest being around 3. There were 2–3-foot waves crashing on the sand, lapping at the kids' feet. The parents were oblivious.

There are certain places where cell phone use should be off-limits. The following is my personal list:

  • Hospitals

  • Supermarkets

  • Movie Theatres

  • Playhouses

  • Libraries

  • Funerals

  • Buses

  • Family Time with the Kids

  • Restaurants

  • Lineups

  • Elevators

It is important in our crowded buses, stores, and living spaces to observe some basic common sense and courtesy when using cell phones. Mobile phone etiquette is vital as our personal space becomes more eroded. Have respect for the rights of others when using your cell phone.

Questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Is it really necessary to check emails every five minutes on the off chance you may receive an email from "that special person"?

  • Is checking your text messages every time your phone beeps really more important than your children when at the park, beach or playground?

  • That "important" phone call you are taking on a crowded bus. Can't you let the call go to voice mail and wait until you are off the bus to return it instead of subjecting your fellow passengers to an annoying and one-sided conversation?

  • When checking your groceries through the check-out, is it really necessary to take that call or check an incoming text at the same time you are scrabbling through your purse or wallet to find your debit or credit card and the reward card and while hanging onto a couple of small children? Isn't that what voice mail, is for?

  • Is your life less important than checking your text messages when crossing a busy street with your head down and expecting oncoming traffic to see you?

  • And, what if that oncoming car is being driven by someone checking their text messages?

  • Do you really think people in a crowded elevator or bus want to hear your conversation with a friend about how last night's date worked out or your latest business deal? Really?

Though I enjoy my smartphone and all the features it provides, such as being a handy-dandy encyclopedia, I sometimes wish for the good old days when there were only landlines and payphones and phone conversations were held in the privacy of one's home or office. A time when there were much less distracted drivers and no nitwits texting while driving.

I really do think mobile phones have bought out the worst in people's manners. Using the 82/20 rule, I would say 80 percent of people have little to no regard for the rights of others when it comes down to their cell phones. Also, results from a recent poll indicate that cell phone usage is not only habit-forming, it is also addictive; possibly the biggest non-drug addiction of the 21st century.


Based on recent research, fatal crash risk is 66 % higher when a driver is handling a cell phone and it is estimated that more than 800 crash deaths on United States roads in 2017 were attributed to drivers texting or using phones for things other than talking.

All phones come with mute buttons and voice mail. Think about that the next time you are at the park with your children, on a crowded bus or subway or in the library or at a supermarket checkout counter. No one wants to hear your phone conversation.

Carry on your phone calls in privacy and respect the rights of others.

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