Modern Etiquette: Ringing in good mobile phone manners

Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:30pm EDT
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By Jo Bryant

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Modern technology may have provided us with mobile phones and the convenience of instant communication, but it's also created a lot more ways to irritate or offend.

Mobile phones are an essential element in our professional and personal lives, but they too come with a code of conduct.

Good mobile phone etiquette takes little effort or thought - it's simply a matter of being aware of your surroundings and of other people.

*Manage your Settings

If you're embarrassed by your ring or alert tone in certain situations (on the train, in the office, for example) it's almost certainly the wrong choice. Monitor the volume - ringtones should never be intrusive or cause heads to turn. Switch off your phone, or turn it on to vibrate, when you are going into meetings, theatres, cinemas and so on.

*Be Discreet

Your mobile phone is not a megaphone, so don't shout. Be aware of your surroundings and try not to use your phone in situations where your conversation may disturb others. Be aware that your voice will distract a peaceful train carriage of newspaper-reading commuters or seem intrusive on a crowded bus. Intimate conversations are never appropriate in front of others. Equally, don't use foul language, have full-blooded rows, or talk about money, sex or bodily functions in front of witnesses. Try and respect your own - and other people's - privacy. There are certain places where it is unacceptable to use your phone: for example, art galleries, churches, libraries, hospitals. Respect the rules.

*Two's Company...   Continued...

<p>A woman uses her mobile phone while holding a cigarette in central London, February 1, 2010. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett</p>