July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month!

Technology is definitely here to stay.  I know that I, myself, have fought it a lot.  I have this deep desire to have a balance but also be connected, but sometimes balance is hard to come by when you have a phone attached to you at all times.

As a mom, I want to set good standards in etiquette for my children, and cell phone usage is no exception.

There are days when I feel so run down after running around with the kids all day, and all I want to do is pick up my phone and peruse pinterest or Instagram for as long as possible.  Oftentimes I have caught myself just checking my phone and telling my kids to wait for me to finish.  Is this the example I want to set for them?  Absolutely not!  I don’t want them to see the phone as more important than whatever they are trying to talk to me about. 

One of the ways that I try to combat this is to look at my children when they speak to me, instead of just yessing them and nodding my head, actually look them in the eyes so they know that I am paying attention to what they say.  I’m sure my e-mail or text message will wait the two minutes it takes my son to tell me a story about one of his toys. 

A feature that I love on the Apple iPhone5s is the “Do Not Disturb” setting.  You can set it to come on automatically at a specific time during the day, which I did as soon as I got the phone.  I have the Do Not Disturb come on at 6pm and go off at 7am the next day.  Part of the reason is because I don’t want my phone dinging through dinner and all night long, but also because I want to just put the phone away.  Don't worry, if it is an important call, the second time the number tries to call you it will ring through.

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.

Another interesting statistic - *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.

Essentially, other people bother you with their cell phone usage, but you don’t bother anyone?  Interesting thoughts.

That statistic seems crazy to me!  I think that technology is incredibly useful in our everyday lives, but sometimes we forget to be in the here and now, and are instead constantly in the online worlds we have all created for ourselves.  And while I love that I get amazing coverage through US Cellular, I don’t need to constantly use it when I am out or at home.  I can take a step back and enjoy what I am doing instead of rushing through and not observing what is around me.

Some tips on improving courtesy by busy cell phone users:

            Set the ground rules; especially with your children.  If you are eating dinner, make it a point to put all of the electronic devices away.  US Cellular offers a great contract agreement between parents and children to fill out and set the ground rules in your own family – you can find that here.

            Seek to understand.  Everyone's needs for cell phones are different, and so is the way that they use them.  It is helpful to understand the ways that someone uses a cell phone.  Focus on the similarities instead of the differences and it will help you be more courteous to others' expectations.

            Don’t be a buzz kill.  The vibrate function on a phone is awesome, but not so much when it is sitting on a table in a meeting, or at your dinner table.  Put the phone in your pocket, it will still notify you that you are getting a call or message, but it won’t notify the rest of the people in your party.

What are some ways that you are trying to be more courteous when using your cell phone?  Do you find that it interferes in your everyday family life?

*Between November 15th and December 2, 2013, 500 nationally representative online interviews were conducted among smartphone users in partnership with Maritz Research.

I am part of the US Cellular Blogger Brigade Ambassador program, and this was a sponsored post.  However, the opinions, as always, are my own.

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