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Mobile phones have quickly become the most popular accessory for anyone to own, there is no wonder these hand held devices are never far from us, even when we are communicating face to face with others. With these mobile devices basically becoming extensions of who we are, where should we draw the line and put our phones away?
This could be a tricky question. Some might say it is perfectly okay to whip out your phone at the dinner table, in a meeting or while having coffee with a long lost friend, others may argue that phones should only be used when necessary and or when you are alone. Taking these differing opinions into account, we at ParentsCorner have decided to come up with a guideline on mobile manners which we feel will be helpful to parents, teenagers and children alike.
Tip 1. Put your phone away when in a social setting
If you are anything like me, there is very little that will irritate you more than when someone starts giggling at a message or photo on their phone while you are mid-conversation. Whenever someone looks at their phone while talking to me, I automatically feel that the verbal conversation we were having is not as important as the virtual conversation they are having on their phone. Pulling out your phone in the middle of a face to face conversation indicates, that you are not really “present”, that you are not fully participating in the conversation. While most of us claim that we can “multi-task”, be honest with yourself here- can you really give your full attention to someone while talking to another 3 or 4 people over your phone, or reading through the latest Facebook or Twitter feeds?
If it is an emergency and you have to answer your phone or respond to a message, be polite and excuse yourself. When you return, put your phone away.
Tip 2. Silence is golden
Put your phone on silent when it is supposed to be on silent, for example, in places of worship, theatres, cinemas, libraries and the like. A beeping mobile phone in any of the above mentioned places shows minimal respect for those around you.
Tip 3. Volume control
When you are in a public space, remember that not everyone wants to hear about what you are having for dinner or why you are fighting with your partner. Keep your voice down, move away from the crowd, or go into a separate room.
Tip 4: Don’t pull out your phone to avoid feeling awkward
My initial reaction when I find myself standing alone at a dinner party is to grab my phone and start messaging or scrolling through Facebook to avoid looking (and feeling) like a bit of a loner. This will be a difficult one for most of us, but try putting your phone away and join a conversation with a group of people you don’t know. Try make an effort to chat to a new face rather than scrolling aimlessly through your photos pretending to be busy.
There are so many tips we could give you to encourage you to put you phone away, but basically our message is: be considerate of other people. Give your full attention when needed, don’t use your phone as a safety net and miss out on opportunity to engage in a valuable face to face conversation.