A look into proper texting etiquette
A friend recently shared this true story with me about a co-worker of his. The co-worker asked his 17 year-old grandson if he would like to spend the day with him. The grandson was excited to get the invitation, so the two of them headed off for an afternoon together.
As they drove around and talked, he noticed his grandson was continually being interrupted by cell phone calls and text messages. By the time an hour had passed, the grandfather had had enough. He calmly rolled down his truck's window, grabbed the cell phone and flung it out in the open air. As you can imagine, his grandson was mortified to see his iPhone skidding over the desert sands and quickly disappearing under a mesquite bush.
“He didn't really do that!” I gasped. “He did,” my friend said, and then he told his grandson, “If you want to spend the day with me, then spend it with me. If you don't want to spend the day with me, tell me so.” He said he and his grandson have been out together several times since and he hasn't noticed any more cell phone episodes. He admitted, “My grandson might have gone back out into the desert to dig up his cell phone, but he's keeping the contraption quiet and in his pocket when we're together.”
Soon after hearing that story, while shopping at one of our local retail stores, I saw a rugged looking antique sign that said “Movie night: turn off your cell phones.” I wondered who might buy that sign.
Can it be that we have to post a notice up on our family room wall to teach the proper etiquette when it comes to the use of cell phones? According to a report released by Intel, the word isn't getting out. They found that 91 percent of Americans witness an average of five “mobile offenses” every day.
Since we no longer have our etiquette guru, Emily Post, with us to teach proper cell phone manners, and I don't believe our schools' new common core standards have included it, perhaps we all need to join together to model and teach proper cell phone and texting etiquette.
• Turn off your phone in public areas where a conversation could disturb others.
• Alert your companions or colleagues ahead of time if you are expecting an important call or text that you have to take.
• Speak in a low conversational tone of voice if you must talk on your phone in public.
• Place your call on hold if you need to interact with someone else. It's rude to continue speaking on the phone while checking out of a store or a ticket line at the airport.
• Set your ringtone to something simple and unobtrusive and keep the volume low.
• Refrain from texting in a business meeting, in class, at church, at the movies, at a friend's birthday party, at a funeral or at a dinner, even a family dinner — and “No,” not even Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner!
• Never text and drive.
• Don't talk on the cell phone while you are in a public bathroom stall.
• And finally, don't text someone when you are spending time with someone else, especially if they are your grandfather!
Karen Spencer is a speech/communication and education instructor at Arizona Western College. She can be reached at email@example.com or check out her blog at smallsteps4bigresults.blogspot.com.