Pearson Adult Learning Centre HomePearson Adult Learning Centre: Weekly Feature




Cell Phone Etiquette
by Paul

Almost everyone has been in situations where a cell phone user does not consider others.  Especially at work, at school, in a restaurant, on the street, or at any public place, it can be frustrating to others when you talk on your cell phone, or just text, or when others hear your cell phone ring.  Cell phone etiquette involves following general rules to show respect to others when using a cell phone in public.  As the cell phone has become an essential component in our daily lives, it is crucial to follow proper cell phone etiquette if one wishes to maintain consideration and courtesy to others.

Keep you voice down while on your cell phone.  There isn’t a need to raise your voice unless you don’t mind others nearby hearing your private conversation.  If you need to have a private discussion on your cell phone, then find a quiet spot away from others, a place where you can talk freely.  Should you be on the bus or in a busy restaurant, a place where it’s not possible to hold a private cell phone conversation, then simply call back your caller later on.

Turn your cell phone off in a movie theatre, a playhouse, a concert theatre, or in any other similar public place where lights and sounds are carefully controlled.  The lights and sounds are monitored and controlled for the enjoyment of the entire audience.  Therefore, it’s quite rude if a cell phone lights up or rings during a movie or performance.  Furthermore, one should not even text message or check his or her cell phone for missed calls in such public places because it can be very distracting to those around, especially during the show or presentation. 

When attending a class in school, visiting a library, or attending an important meeting at work, turn your cell phone ringer off and perhaps just leave the cell phone on vibration mode.  This way you’re not being disturbed, you’re not disturbing others, and yet you can identify the caller through your cell phone’s caller ID feature.  If it’s an important call and you need to respond quickly, then you may leave quietly or excuse yourself and return the call from elsewhere.

It’s quite rude to answer your cell phone during a face-to-face conversation with someone. This clearly makes the person with whom you were conversing feel far less important than the caller.  You could perhaps just let the incoming call roll to your voicemail and simply call back later.  If your phone does ring in the midst of a face-to-face conversation and you would like to answer, then quickly explain that the call is urgent prior to answering your cell phone.  This will demonstrate respect for whomever you are speaking to face-to-face.

While driving, for your safety and for the safety of others, the law states that the driver may not hold a cell phone.  Your complete concentration needs to be on driving.  Definitely do not read or send text messages while driving.  If you must answer a call, the law requires that your cell phone be on speakerphone or hands-free mode.  To make a call, your cell phone needs to have a voice-activation feature.  All in all, it’s always best to wait until reaching your destination before using your cell phone.  If a call is distracting or upsetting, then pull over and stop your car before continuing with the conversation.

Cell phone etiquette is mostly a matter of being considerate of others.  By following some basic rules of good manners and safety when using a cell phone in public, you are actually contributing to our society becoming more courteous while enjoying the technology of your cell phone. 

Take this quiz to help you identify your knowledge of cell phone etiquette - Jobstriker

Take the Cellphone Etiquette Quiz (based on the reading) to check your comprehension and vocabulary skills.

(June 26, 2011)

Visit Last Week's Feature:  Cycling in the Lower Mainland

Weekly Feature Index

(Includes all 2002 to date Weekly Features with descriptions)