June 27th, 2010

July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month

by Jacqueline Whitmore

Did you know…

  • At least 91% of Americans own cell phones
  • There are more than 285 million cell phones in use in the U.S.
  • 3 out of 10 people prefer cell phones over landlines

While a majority of us experience a range of rude behaviors on a daily basis, the one transgression that seems to occur most often is accompanied by a ring tone: People talking on cell phones, in public places, in a loud or annoying manner.

Eighty-seven percent of Americans in an ABC News “20/20” survey say they encounter that kind of gabbing at least sometimes, and a majority — 57 percent — hear it often. That takes the cake for frequency; by contrast, just under four in 10 often experience generally rude or disrespectful behavior, cursing, near-cursing or people interrupting conversations to use e-mail or cell phones.

It was this bad behavior that prompted me to come up with a remedy.  In July 2002, I officially founded National Cell Phone Courtesy Month with the intent of making cell phone users more respectful of their surroundings.  With more and more people using smart phones, Blackberries and other electronic devices these days, our society’s techno etiquette seems to be declining.

If you agree that cell phone rudeness is on the rise and would like to help eradicate this growing epidemic, please spread the word about National Cell Phone Courtesy Month.  Here are some helpful tips to share.

  1. Be all there. When you’re in a meeting, performance, courtroom or other busy area, let calls go to voicemail to avoid a disruption.  In some instances, it’s best to put your phone on silent mode.
  2. Keep it private. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid discussing private or confidential information in public. You never know who may be in hearing range.
  3. Keep your cool. Don’t display anger during a public call. Conversations that are likely to be emotional should be held where they will not embarrass or intrude on others.
  4. Learn to vibe. Use your wireless phone’s silent or vibration settings in public places such as business meetings, religious services, schools, restaurants, theaters or sporting events so that you don’t disrupt your surroundings.
  5. Avoid “cell yell.” Remember to use your regular conversational tone when speaking on your wireless phone. People tend to speak more loudly than normal and often don’t recognize how distracting they can be to others.
  6. Follow the rules. Some places, such as some restaurants or courtrooms, restrict or prohibit the use of mobile phones, so adhere to posted signs and instructions. Some jurisdictions may also restrict mobile phone use in public places.
  7. Excuse yourself. If you’re expecting a call that can’t be postponed, alert your companions ahead of time and excuse yourself when the call comes in; the people you’re with should take precedence over calls you want to make or receive.
  8. Send a text message when you want to send a quick message.  But remember not to text while having a conversation with another person.  It’s important to give others, especially clients and customers, your full, undivided attention.
  9. Watch and listen discreetly. Multimedia applications such as streaming video and music are great ways to stay informed and access the latest entertainment.  Use earphones to avoid distracting others in public areas.
  10. Don’t text and drive.  Don’t put your life or those of others at risk.  Pull over if you absolutely must send a message or wait until you reach your destination.

Do you have any other tips to add to this list?  If so, I’d love to hear from you!

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14 Responses to “July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month”

  1. July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month | Etiquette Expert Blog | Cell Phone LA on June 27th, 2010 11:54 pm

    […] more:  July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month | Etiquette Expert Blog bad-cell-phone-manners, cell-phone-manners, cellphone, cellphone-manners, leslie-charles, […]

  2. Jacqueline Whitmore on June 28th, 2010 1:23 pm

    Thanks for helping me promote National Cell Phone Courtesy Month!

  3. The Spark: Can You Hear Me Now? | Damxe on July 2nd, 2010 9:00 am

    […] is Cell Phone Courtesy Month, and in honor of this occasion we are offering friendly reminders and cautionary tales. We intend […]

  4. Strive To Be Gracious - A Wedding Planning Blog · National Cell Courtesy Phone Month – Tips for a Ringing Free Wedding Ceremony on July 7th, 2010 2:45 pm

    […] of others and of their surroundings, author and etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore, launched National Cell Phone Courtesy Month in July of […]

  5. Mobile Applications on July 9th, 2010 7:45 am

    Sprint app of the week – Courtesy…

    Ever been in an airport or on a train hearing more than you would like of a fellow traveler’s cell phone conversation? Unfortunately, until they come up with a cone of silence app, we can’t really suggest a good technology solution to that problem. As….

  6. Stav on July 12th, 2010 8:33 pm

    Visiting Nurse Service of New York blogger Amy Dixon Drouin has a fun post reminding everyone why courtesy is needed — especially in New York City! Check it out at http://blogs.vnsny.org/2010/07/12/national-cell-phone-courtesy-month.

  7. Opsmgr on May 18th, 2011 8:06 pm

    We recognize and support National Cell Phone Courtesy Month.

  8. Reginald D. Wimbley on July 1st, 2011 11:05 am

    We support National Cell Phone Courtesy Month!

  9. Carole on July 1st, 2011 2:18 pm

    I heard you on Jim and Jenny this morning. This is one of my biggest pet peeves! The people who are standing in line expect you to wait for them to finish their conversation before you can help them? How arrogant is that?

    But if the salesclerk were to say, “I’ll take care of the next person while you finish your call” would probably get in trouble, right?

    People have become slaves to these things. Like they have no control over their life.
    We can make a difference if we just speak up. I’ve been surprised when my daughter actually leaves her cellphone on the table when we go down to swim, or out for a walk. I’ve let her know how I don’t appreciate the constant interruptions if we are trying to have a conversation.

    Personally, I refuse to be at anyone’s beck and call 24×7 (except my daughter of course)
    And the fact that ‘they’ can track your every move sort of creeps me out.

    You can say no. You can let a call go to voicemail. You can have a good time without the cellphone. It should never take the place of real relationships and really living life.

  10. Jacqueline on July 1st, 2011 2:27 pm

    I agree, Carole. People first, technology second! Happy July Fourth!

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  12. You with the cell phone — Quiet! | OU News Bureau on March 7th, 2012 1:23 pm

    […] Jacqueline Whitmore went so far as to establish July as National Cell Phone Courtesy Month. On her blog, she posted a video of “American Idol” runner-up Adam Lambert halting a song and asking someone […]

  13. July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month! « Kimberley Vassal Insurance Services, LTD. on July 2nd, 2012 3:58 pm

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  14. Friday, July 5, 2013 | Village Book Shop on July 5th, 2013 5:41 pm

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