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How to connect by disconnecting

Posted by Scott Stueber on Jan 5, 2016 11:00:00 AM

bigstock-Family-looking-at-their-smartp-52333183.jpgCell/Smart phones are an integral part of society. When I look at everything it can do, I think it’s one of the greatest inventions. We can communicate in many forms, watch TV, read books, play games, and take pictures when we’re on vacation.

How and when we use our phone, however, can also create frustration and safety issues. So often when I go out to dinner with family and friends, it seems everyone in the restaurant is on the phone looking at Facebook, sports scores, or text messages. Personally, this frustrates me. What happened to having a nice conversation at dinner?

So, do you have a resolution or goal you want to accomplish in 2016? Whether you do or you don’t, I encourage you too seriously look at these etiquette/safety tips and pick a few you can use in your own life to improve your relationships and your safety.

Cell phone etiquette/safety tips

  1. Enjoy quality time with friends and family. If you’re out to dinner or at a friend’s house, leave your phone in the car or keep it in your coat pocket on vibrate. If you need to check in with a baby sitter, that’s fine. Just excuse yourself from the table or conversation. What’s the point of spending time with family or friends if everyone is going to spend more time on their phones?
  2. Pay attention when you’re walking. How often do you see people walking and looking at their phone? Walking and using your phone can be as dangerous as texting while driving. A nationwide study by Ohio State University found that emergency room visits by pedestrians using their phones have more than doubled since 2005. Using your phone while walking:
    • Prevents you from seeing holes or cracks in the sidewalk that could cause you to trip and fall. Unfortunately, people have been so distracted, they’ve walked off bridges or fallen into waterfalls at their local malls.
    • Makes you an easy target for crime.
    • Could cause you to stray into traffic.
  3. Be respectful in public places. Whether you’re at work or in line at the grocery store, be respectful of those around you. Nobody is interested in hearing your conversation. Consider getting a conference room or stepping out of the checkout line. Other people need to accomplish things and don’t want to be distracted by your conversation. Check out what etiquette expert Jules Hirst recommends if your phone starts blaring in a public place.
  4. Avoid texting or taking calls in meetings. If you’re in a meeting, keep your phone on vibrate and in your pocket. Buzzing phones on the conference room table can be distracting to the person talking, as well as to those trying to listen. Your focus should be on what’s being discussed in the meeting, not on an incoming call, text, or email.
  5. Avoid putting someone on hold. When you put someone on hold, you’re telling him or her someone else more important is calling. If someone calls while you’re talking, ignore the call. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message. If not, you can call them back immediately after you finish your current conversation.
  6. Avoid using your phone while driving. Many studies have shown that reaction times are significantly reduced when you’re using your phone. A University of Utah driving simulator study showed that drivers using cell phones experienced a slower reaction time than drivers with a .08 blood alcohol level. Have you ever pulled into your garage after the commute home and you don’t remember how you got there? Drivers on the phone can experience inattention blindness. Inattention blindness occurs when you see things, but your brain doesn’t process what you see. 
Don’t let your phone become a negative distraction in your life. For more information, I encourage you to read “Understanding the distracted brain WHY DRIVING WHILE USING HANDS-FREE CELL PHONES IS RISKY BEHAVIOR.”

Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts; please share them in the box below.


Topics: Family Safety, Teen Safety

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