How to have Better Cell Phone Etiquette

This post is written in partnership with U.S. Cellular.  All opinions are my own!

Did you know that July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month?  It seems that now everyone has an iPhone that is connected to them at all times.  This isn't a bad thing, but steps need to be taken in order to make sure that you are being courteous to those around you.  I can't be the only one annoyed when I am trying to talk to them, but they are looking at their phone the entire time?!

Etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore founded National Cell Phone Courtesy Month in 2002, seeing the need to address proper cell phone use as device use was rising.

I know that there is a huge difference in using a cell phone in 2002 when there was no such thing as a smart phone, and even 10 years ago when the first iPhones came out, to now where everything is done on my iPhone 7 (banking, communicating, social media, pictures).  Instead of being mindful, I think that people often will get absorbed into whatever is on their device, and can easily forget what is going on in the real world, right in front of them.

A recent U.S. Cellular survey* reveals the very people who get upset with others' cell phone etiquette breaches may be just as guilty of the same offenses they are most annoyed by.

When cell phone usage crosses the line and distracts us from what is right in front of us, that is a problem.  It is almost as if we have to learn how to be present again.

What are the worst cell phone behaviors that should be avoided?  U.S. Cellular has compiled the worst cell phone behaviors that people get annoyed with but still do themselves.

How to have Better Cell Phone Etiquette U.S. Cellular

Using the phone while driving - this is number one for me.  Not only is it an annoyance, but for 83% of smartphone users surveyed, it is a safety concern.  44% of smartphone users admit to doing it.  

Honestly, there is nothing worst to me than driving on the highway and seeing the car to the left of me swerve right into my lane because they are looking at their phone instead of the road.  It is a huge safety concern, and as a mama it is doubly concerning.

What is the answer then?  Put the phone down.  There is nothing that important that cannot wait until you get to your destination.  No text, no social media story, really not even a phone call.  If you feel like you do need to talk to someone on the phone, use a bluetooth device, or better yet, pull over and stop.

Looking at a phone during a conversation - this is another pet peeve of mine.  If I am talking to you, but you are looking at your phone, you are telling me that what I say is not important, and whatever is on your phone is more important.

According to the survey, 67% of people are annoyed by this behavior, but 45% also admit to check or use their phone in order to avoid having conversations.

Instead of doing this, just put your phone away.  When you go out to dinner with someone, put your phone away, don't leave it on the table.  Concentrate on the connection in front of you rather than the connection through your screen.

Looking at a device while walking - this can definitely be dangerous, especially if you are unaware of what is going on around you.  I am guilty of doing this when I walk at our local high school track.  I will look down at my phone while I am walking, and then cross several lanes in the process - luckily I am usually there when no one else is around, otherwise I could see potential collisions with other people!

According to the survey 61% of cell phone users are annoyed when someone is staring at their phone while walking.  In fact 36% of respondents said they have been walked into by someone looking at their phone instead of their surroundings.  24% admitted to being the person walking into someone else as well!

The best option if you do need to check your phone while walking is to stop and move to the side, look at what you need to, and then put the phone away and keep going.  

Are you guilty of any of these cell phone etiquette no-no's?

*Between Nov. 10-17, 2016, a total of 701 online interviews were conducted among a nationally representative sample by Consumer Insights, in partnership with Maritz CX.

34 comments:

  1. Here in Massachusetts, it's against the law to text and drive. People still do it - ALL THE TIME, but if they get caught, they will get a ticket.

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  2. We are too attached to our phones. I swear it's like an OCD of sorts. I hate when I'm out with someone and they can't stop looking at their phone.

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  3. I think one of the worst offenses is using your phone while at checkout in a store. So rude to the cashier to not even acknowledge them. I once hung up on my Dad when he told me he was at the checkout while I was taking to him lol.

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  4. I hate when i'm working ( usually as costumer service at the store ) and someone is asking for help while having a phone stuck up to their ear. Its so very annoying and very very rude!

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  5. I get so mad every time my husband looks at his phone in the car! I'll drive, I don't mind. In fact, I'd prefer it if you're going to risk driving me and my children into another car or something.

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  6. All the time should be National Cell Phone Courtesy Month. People are so rude with their phones. I hate when I am talking to someone and they start using their phone. So inconsiderate!

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  7. I have to admit I use my cell phone a lot and constantly but there are limits. Driving is so dangerous when people are on their phones and I almost hit someone who was walking in the street not paying any attention to where they were.

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  8. OMG! People really need this. I get the attraction to always being connected but it can be so disrespectful and annoying when talking to someone but only on your phone every second! Talking on your phone loudly in restaurants, cinemas, doctors office and other places that are generally quiet irks me!

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  9. I just had this conversation with my husband. I was trying to talk to him and he kept looking down at his phone. He said "but I am listening" and I said "but it is rude and makes you seem that you are bored with what I am saying". I also can't stand when I have a girls night out and people keep looking at their phones. I think, I took the time away from my family to spend time with you and you don't even want to look at me and have a real conversation. Annoying.

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  10. I love my phone as much as the next person but driving while using my phone is a huge no-no. It's a terrible way to cause an accident. I think this post is a good reminder for all of us to use our phones the proper way.

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  11. Using your cell while driving is actually a crime here so that's a big no for me. I am guilty of using my phone while walking...but only because I'm lost and using Google maps lol!!

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  12. It's entirely rude to look at your cell phone when someone is talking!! Thank you for posting these etiquette points. There are many who could use them.

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  13. DRIVES ME NUTS when people look at their phones during convos. Or at restaurants UGH! I wish smart phones didnt exist sometimes.

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  14. Putting your phone away when having a conversation with someone face to face is a big one!!! Be present and give someone the respect they deserve

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  15. I think all of us need better etiquette. This is definitely a great reminder! Amber N

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  16. This is a great post and reminder for us to be safe. I firmly do well with the cell, not any different than when I had a house phone. I hate to use it in the car, often times if it does go off and I think it's something important I either pull over OR have the passenger get into it and reply or tell me whatever was sent!

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  17. I make sure not to touch my phone while driving. It's a safety issue and I admit I go nuts when I see someone driving and touching their phones. Great post.

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  18. I would say that it drives me crazy when people use their mobiles during a convo but then I have been guilty of doing it myself. I think it can be very common among us x

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  19. My home state WA just passed a very strict cell phone law which I think is a good thing. And I hate it when I am at lunch with friends trying to have a conversation and they are looking at their phone the whole time--grrr.

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  20. I guess we cannot help to not talk on the phone while driving. Technology has made it so convenient.

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  21. This is so true. I do not drive and talk or text, but I have walked into things before when on phone not paying attention.

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  22. I just took my eight year old daughter to a self defense class and she learned how dangerous it is to be looking at your phone while walking. It's so important for children to understand the dangers of not paying attention to their immediate environment (so many are fully oblivious because of smart phones!).

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  23. Looking at a phone during conversations (unless researching something that is a part of the conversation) is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. Really just rude in most cases. :/

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  24. Cell phone etiquette is seriously lacking anymore. Luckily for us we don't drive and I rarely talk on my phone. When I'm out it stays in my purse! - Jeanine

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  25. I try not to look at my phone during dinner or while talking but it can definitely be hard sometimes. It's shame how our society has become phone reliant.

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  26. I try never to look at my phone when I am in a conversation with someone. It's so rude! I also cannot stand when ppl talk on their phones when they are on line at a bank or check out!

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  27. Cell phones have definitely brought on the need for some updates in Miss Manners' teachings. I do not allow cell phones (or other devices) at the table, period. I am always amazed when I see people sitting across the same table having a conversation through text message rather than verbal communication. And when their cell phone usage impacts others around them, lines, movies, etc., it's just downright rude!

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  28. I admit that I'm bad about looking at my phone during a conversation. For some reason, I always have this need to feel like I'm "in the loop."

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  29. I'm not much of a phone person, so I can't say that I have been guilty of any of these no-no's. While I always find it rude for someone to be all into their cell phone during a conversation, I think it is so irresponsible when someone text while driving. Too many accidents have occurred that way! :(

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  30. I always walk and look at my phone. It's a bad habit but I do it. And I will admit to doing it while driving every now and then.

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  31. I think everyone could use this post in their lives, we all spend too much time onthe phone and it is seriously effecting our ability to act like human beings!

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  32. Hehehe I can be pretty bad when it comes to my phone!!! I work too much and it's easy to get into work mode when you should be lol...

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  33. I always try to be considerate when using my phone as I hate when other people are being inconsiderate using their phone around me. I think having while using your phone is 100% necessary.

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  34. I admit I tend to use my cellphone as a way to avoid conversations. It's like a reflex. I need to work on that

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