We have been having the “cell phone” conversation at work and at home. There seems to be a consensus amongst the people I speak with that cell phones have become one of the rudest distractions going. I witnessed a young woman who had called the police (whom she referred to as “the cop”) for a domestic dispute with a boyfriend and during the time that after police officer arrived, she interrupted him repeatedly to text and to take calls, - after all she called him, was asking for his help and was then making him wait. If she would have been in court, would she have interrupted the judge to take a phone call?
I know that at my dinner table our children have had to be asked to put the phone down. It seems that some cell phone users panic if their friends can not be in constant contact with them at any time of the day or night. They consider it rude if they do not immediately answer or reply to a call or a text. I have witnessed my son sleeping with a cell phone in his hand or on his pillow; cause for concern with the study of cell phone usage and the related brain cancer. (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/cellphones). At the library reference desk we have had people who asked for assistance but were then too busy answering or texting to listen to the answer. This does not even begin to cover the issue of driving while texting or calling.
I always considered it an option to answer my home phone, if I was engaged in something important or it was inconvenient to get to the phone, I didn’t answer, after all I had an answering machine and if I chose I could return the call. Where did the idea of never failing to answer become the most important part of our lives?
The Cell Phone Organization has put out Rules for cell phone usage:
1. Lower your voice when taking calls in public.
2. Avoid taking calls when already engaged in Face-to-Face conversation.
If you do take a call, ask permission of the people around you.
3. Avoid taking calls when having a face-to-face conversation.
4. Avoid texting when engaged in face-to-face conversation.
5. Put your ringer mode on silent in restaurants and theaters. (I would add when in meetings or other group functions.)
6. Don’t light up your cell phone screen in dark theaters.
7. Hang up and drive. (At any time at least 3% of drivers are talking on their cell phones.)
8. Acknowledge the delay.
9. Don’t use Google Voice call screening with family or close friends.
10. Don’t blame the other person for a dropped call.
11. Avoid looking things up during a conversation.
12. Avoid inappropriate profile pictures.
13. Be mindful about Facebook Tagging.
14. Be mindful of the ten foot proximity rule.
(Keep a distance of at least ten feet from the nearest person when talking on a call phone.)
The Huffington Post has some additional tips for children using cell phones also.
July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month.