In my opinion, teaching your kids good mobile phone etiquette is as essential as teaching good table etiquette. There is nothing quite so annoying and socially isolating as poor table manners – and mobile phone manners are no different.
Mobile phones are clearly here to stay. For many (including myself!) they play an essential role in day to day life. In fact a survey by the Pew Research Centre shows that 69% of Americans would find it really hard to give up their phones. So while many of us would find it hard to live without them, learning to use them without disrespecting and inconveniencing others is critical.
Here are my top tips for good mobile phone etiquette so you can ensure your kids don’t stand out for the wrong reasons.
- Respect Others
- When you are engaged with others, always give them your full attention and avoid texting or taking calls. If you need to take an urgent call, apologise and ask permission from ‘the group’ before accepting it
- When using your phone in public, always be at least 3 metres away from others to avoid irritating
- Why not let Voicemail handle all non-urgent calls so you can focus on your task or conversation
- Abide by ‘Universal Quiet Zones’ such as churches, libraries and theatres. If it’s a ‘no talk’ zone then don’t talk!
- Monitor Your Volume. Research from Michigan State sociologists showed that people on smartphones speak 1.6 louder than people chatting in normal conversations. Anecdotally, I am sure it is louder! So monitor your volume to avoid ‘cell yell’
- Restaurant Rules. Put your phone on silent and avoid putting your device on the table. Do not answer any calls unless urgent. If you do need to answer a call, always ask the permission of your group
- Watch Your P’s and Q’s! Only ever use appropriate ‘public’ language when using your mobile phone
- Avoid arguments. If things get heated on the phone, try and shut it down. Be mindful of the impact an intense, heated one-sided conversation can have on your ‘listening audience’
By all means, please add teaching mobile phone etiquette to your ‘must-do’ list but remember so much of parenting is about modelling. So, next time you are at the park with your kids and the phone rings – let it go to voicemail! If you are going to talk the talk, you need to walk the talk too!
Till next time,
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