Mobile phones have had a major and largely positive impact on 21st century society. From facilitating communication to improving access to information, mobile phones have affected how human beings live their lives in myriad ways. As ubiquitous and essential as mobile phones have become, there are still many instances when they can prove irritating. While it’s easy to lose awareness of one’s surroundings when using a mobile phone, it’s important that mobile phone users prioritize etiquette when using their phones in public.

  1. Keep private conversations private. When the phone rings while you are in public and you don’t want to allow the call to go to voicemail, answer the call and immediately and politely explain that you are in public. This indicates to the person on the other end of the line that you do not want to broadcast potentially sensitive information to strangers, while also showing those around you that you respect them enough to reserve such conservations for private settings.
  2. Always use appropriate language. When using a mobile phone in public, refrain from peppering conversations with expletives or graphic language. Children may be nearby without your knowledge, but even if there are no young people in the immediate vicinity, your fellow adults likely don’t want to hear foul or graphic language.
  3. Obey the rules. Movie theaters, airline cabins, libraries, and various other places have rules in place governing the use of mobile phones. These rules are designed to ensure everyone has a safe, enjoyable experience. Breaking these rules can be a safety risk in certain situations, but is more often merely inconsiderate of those around you. If you must use a mobile phone but you’re in a restricted area, excuse yourself and tend to the matter elsewhere.
  4. Don’t interrupt a conversation to text or answer a phone call. Many people now have no reservations about interrupting an ongoing conversation to text someone else or answer an incoming phone call. Such behavior is disrespectful to the person you’re speaking with and can have an adverse effect on your relationship with that person going forward.
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