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Smartphone etiquette 101: Mobile manners for 3 key scenarios

Smartphone etiquette 101: Mobile manners for 3 key scenarios

2/20/2014

For many of us, our smartphones and tablets have become inexorably tied up with the way we operate in our daily lives - and as such, it can be hard to know when to put our devices in pockets, purses or book bags and perhaps even power them down.

But even in an age when it seems like everyone has a tech gadget constantly at his or her disposal and the mobile Web is always accessible, smartphone etiquette isn't a thing of the past. Simply by the fact that we value our relationships with others - personal, professional or otherwise - it's important to know when smartphone use simply goes too far.

Here are three common, important scenarios where good mobile manners play a key role.

In the office, keep it professional
Smartphone etiquette in the workplace can be difficult to master, especially because bring-your-own-device policies have made a place for our personal gadgets in our professional lives. Nevertheless, it's important to keep the social and recreational uses of your handset as far removed from the office spotlight as possible, bearing in mind the need to be respectful of your colleagues - not to mention staying on your manager's good side.

Mashable recently published an infographic by eBay Deals, and the company's research found that more than half (54 percent) of people feel it's inappropriate to take a personal call in the office. Entertainment-oriented activities were even more frowned upon: 73 percent said mobile games should be off-limits in the workplace, while 70 percent felt the same way about checking social media. Meanwhile, cellphone-related noise was seen as a distraction, as the vast majority - 80 percent - of people said mobile ring volumes should be lower than normal at work.

Don't make your device a transportation hazard
The principle behind mobile manners in the office is that you don't want to annoy or make an unfavorable impression on people you work with every day - but what about smartphone etiquette in relation to people you don't even know?

The eBay Deals study found that in many public scenarios, there's a fine line between what's acceptable and what isn't - especially when these circumstances involve transportation. For example, while listening to music on your smartphone via headphones had almost unanimous (95 percent) approval, 79 percent said it was inappropriate to play songs on your device so that everyone can hear them.

In addition, 88 percent said texting while crossing the street was off-limits. As for texting while driving, forget it: eBay Deals found that sending messages while operating a vehicle had only 6 percent approval.

The rule of thumb? If using your smartphone is going to impact other people - either by annoying or potentially endangering them - put it away.

Smartphone protocol for your first date
The rules for mobile devices in romantic situations, however, are considerably stricter - and this goes double if you're just getting to know your new flame. In a column for iMore, consumer tech expert Georgia Prime insisted that when you're on a first date, your smartphone should be out of sight, out of mind and for all intents and purposes, out of commission.

"Turn your ringer off. Turn vibration off. Turn notifications off. Go into bedside mode, do not disturb mode or whatever it takes to keep your phone quiet," Prime wrote.

She also noted that if you do get a call or text, you don't have to feel or act embarrassed: Simply turn your device off and put it away.

If you fail to follow these guidelines, you may run the risk of your incensed date chucking your device across the restaurant - after all, you just met this person, so who knows what he or she is capable of? But don't worry: ProtectCELL's smartphone protection plans, which offer phone buyback, cover that.

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