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National Cell Phone Courtesy Month

National Cell Phone Courtesy Month

In 1870, Congress established July 4th as a federal holiday. Some 132 years later, in 2002, the Sprint Corporation partnered with a manners expert to establish July as National Cell Phone Courtesy Month.

Taking a day to celebrate and reflect upon our nation’s independence is clearly important, but as we reflect on that guy who texts through our entire work presentation, let’s take this month to also reflect on our cellular habits! 

Without question, cell phones are a wondrous way to increase our connection to the people and world that surround us. However, in certain hands, those same cell phones can transform into an easy and mindless tool that would make Miss Manners blush.

#CellPhoneCourtesyMonth reminds us that having a smartphone in our hands should never be an excuse for thoughtless behavior. Here are 5 etiquette tips for mobile phone usage to keep in mind this month, and all the others.

  1. Silence is golden. Be aware of the times and places when your phone should be placed on silent or turned off. This includes the library, movie theaters, church services, and work meetings. Rule of thumb: if the sound or light of your phone is going to distract or bother others, turn your phone off.
  2. Voices carry. We all know that person. The one who talks so loudly into his or her cell that everyone within a 25 foot radius is able to hear every word. Don’t be that person. When in public, monitor the volume of your voice so the rest of the world doesn’t have to hear your conversation.
  3. Think first. Cell phones offer us the opportunity to respond to emails, texts, and social media posts instantaneously. Be mindful that whatever you write can be screen-shotted–and voicemail saved–for all time. So before writing, sending, or posting anything on your phone, be sure to think: Is this appropriate? Is this kind? Will what I’ve written hurt anyone? Will I regret writing this later?
  4. Don’t text and drive. This is not just a matter of good cell phone etiquette but a matter of life and death. No message is THAT important. If you truly have an urgent need to call or text while driving, just pull over.
  5. Put people first. Sometimes, we use our cell phones as emotional support devices when we’re feeling uncomfortable in social situations. Cell phones can allow people to be in the same physical space without truly being together. Take a deep breath, put your phone in your pocket, and engage like a human. Other humans will thank you!

In July, we can celebrate American independence, but we can also celebrate all the important people in our lives by becoming more mindful of how we use our cell phones.

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