Whether you’re in the office, on the road, or at home, your mobile phone can be an invaluable resource for staying connected to the rest of the world—or your coworkers and family members. However, if you’re not careful, it can also make you seem lazy and rude to the people around you. Be sure to follow these dos and don’ts of using your mobile phone ethically in any environment in order to be respectful of other people while getting the most out of your mobile phone.
DO respect other people’s privacy
It is important to respect other people’s privacy. If you do not have the person’s permission to post an image or information, then it is not ethical. It is also important to use discretion when posting something about another person on your personal Facebook page. Remember that if you are tagged in a photo, then the image will show up on your profile as well.
DON’T be an addict
1) Set limits for yourself. 2) Lock your phone when you’re not using it. 3) Put your phone in the other room or even better, leave it at work. 4) Turn off notifications from social media apps to avoid the urge to check them. 5) Avoid taking calls while driving and make sure you answer calls when they happen. 6) Be mindful of where you are–you don’t want to be constantly checking your phone if you’re in a meeting or at dinner with friends, for example! 7) Commit to a specific time during the day that is phone-free, such as before bedtime or during mealtime, so that you can focus on other people without being distracted by texts, emails, or notifications.
DO turn off your phone in places where it’s not appropriate
Do turn off your phone in places where it’s not appropriate. This includes any place with a movie or play, religious or ceremony, restaurant or grocery store. It’s also considered bad form to use your phone during an interview or meeting. And if you are dining with others, try to refrain from using your phone unless you’re answering an urgent call for work-related purposes.
Don’t send text messages when you’re walking down the street – it distracts from what’s happening around you and is downright dangerous.
Don’t take photos in public areas without asking permission first – this could be seen as intrusive or rude.
DON’T use your phone while driving
A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that, in 2011, approximately 1.6 million drivers were using their cellphones while driving. This is a little over 3% of all drivers on the road. It can be easy to get lost in your phone when it is at arm’s reach, but do not be fooled: you are still putting yourself and others at risk when you use your phone while driving! The National Safety Council reports that a driver who uses a cellphone while driving is four times as likely to get into an accident than one who does not. That is why it is best not to use your phone while driving.
DO be considerate when using your phone in public
We all know how difficult it can be to tear ourselves away from our phones, but there are certain places where using your phone is just plain rude. A recent study found that people who use their phone while on public transportation spend only 25% of their time looking at the person they’re talking to. So when you’re on a bus or train, be considerate of your fellow passengers by minimizing your screen time and keeping it out of sight. This way you can focus on what’s going on around you instead of being glued to your mobile device.
If you’re in a restaurant, put your phone away during dinner or at the very least turn it off or put it face down so other people don’t have to listen to notifications going off every five minutes.
DON’T use your phone in an emergency situation
If you’re like most people, your phone is a lifeline. You use it for everything from checking the weather to staying in touch with friends and family. What you might not realize, though, is that this constant connection can also be a great source of anxiety. It’s hard to turn off your phone when it’s always on in the background, lighting up every time you get an alert.
Don’t use unnecessary apps
First, make sure you’re using only necessary apps on your phone. If you find yourself using apps that are unnecessary, take a moment to figure out why. You might be spending too much time on your phone or feeling bored when you don’t have anything else to do. In either case, the solution is usually just taking a break from the screen for a while or finding something else to do.
Next, be aware of the settings on your phone. You might not know it but some people have their phones set so that they automatically connect to WiFi networks even if they’re not in range. That can cost them money!
Leave your phone time to time.
Step back from your phone. No, really. Put it in a drawer or on the other side of the room. It will still be there when you get back. Give yourself 20 minutes to do whatever you need to do – go for a walk, talk to your parents about their day, read a book – without being on your phone.
Control your phone: not other way round.
It can be hard to keep control of your phone when it is always by your side, but it is essential to try. Here are a few tips on how to stay in control:
- Put your phone in silent mode or vibration mode when you are with people. – Keep your phone out of sight when you are having a conversation. – Turn off the sounds for incoming messages and notifications for anything that is not urgent. – Set boundaries with friends about what type of communication is allowed during meals or other social occasions, such as turning off all notifications on your phone during mealtimes, limiting social media apps while at the table, or setting specific times during the day to be reachable by friends.