Turn it off – March 14, 2012

Published 7:43 pm Tuesday, March 13, 2012

If you were to count, how many times have you heard a cellphone go off at an inappropriate time? How many times have you been shocked by a jarring digital disco ringtone in a meeting, at the movies, at a wedding?

Too many, probably.

Way back in the fall of 2010, a study by Pew Research Center said that 82 percent of adults used a cellphone, Blackberry, iPhone or some other device as a cellphone. Surely by now that number must have risen. With more and more of the people with whom we come in contact on a daily basis using them and having even more experiences in which another’s cellphone use impinges upon our peace of mind, it’s a wonder we’re not all required to take cellphone-etiquette classes before we walk out of the store with our new handheld devices.

There are those who are naturally polite when using a cellphone, and there are those who don’t realize there is such an animal as a polite cellphone user, but all would benefit from learning the universal guidelines to cellphone use that will keep the dirty looks from being slung your way.

• Lower your voice when you answer your phone.

• Avoid personal conversation when others are near enough to overhear.

• If you’re already having a face-to-face conversation, avoid answering a call, but if you must, ask their permission first.

• Avoid texting when in a face-to-face conversation.

• Observe the 10-foot rule. If you answer your phone, put a distance of 10 feet between you and the person closest to you.

• Don’t drive and dial.

• Use speakerphone only when others can’t overhear you.

• Silence your ringer. Make it a habit to be the last thing you do before you walk into the movies, into church, into a classroom, wherever you may go.

We live in a polite society. Let’s keep it polite by being more conscientious about the impact of our cellphone use on the people around us.