Mobile technology and your manners

At a time when usage has spiked, keep these etiquette tips top of mind

Matt KasperMobile technology is keeping us connected more than ever before. Phone calls, texts and multimedia messaging, video chats and overall data usage have spiked in recent months as individuals rely on devices to work, complete school assignments, shop, game and connect.

This increase has also given way to a heightened awareness of common annoyances related to mobile technology use among family members cooped up together at home as well as with individuals encountered when venturing out in public.

July is Cellphone Courtesy Month, making it a great time to reinforce the importance of minding our mobile manners and putting them into practice.

Here are a few easy cellphone etiquette ideas U.S. Cellular recommends keeping top of mind as we continue the transition back to normalcy:

  • Refrain from being unnecessarily noisy as sounds can travel from room to room at home and well beyond the recommended social distancing parameters in other settings. Set ringers and vibration patterns on low and be mindful of your own voice volume when taking phone calls and video chatting. Also consider using Apple AirPods, Samsung Galaxy Buds or other types of headphones when gaming, joining a Zoom meeting or streaming content.
  • Find balance when it comes to usage and responsiveness. Research suggests average Americans check their phones 80 times a day.1 It can be difficult to resist the urge to constantly check notifications, status updates and incoming messages, but this is very distracting and inconsiderate when in the presence of others. Learn to set technology aside and truly engage with the ones you are with – even if it is via video. And, encourage others to do the same by not expecting immediate responses.
  • Implement best practices for video conferencing platform utilization. Virtual meetings, happy hours and celebrations are widely popular and will likely continue to be for the foreseeable future. Give the software a trial run before joining a gathering. Mute audio unless currently speaking to minimize interference. Make sure backgrounds are appropriate. Avoid multi-tasking. Remember that the content of group chats and private messages can be accessed by the host. Set a time limit and stick to it.
  • Remember that devices are high-touch surfaces and can be unsanitary. Help slow the spread of germs by using 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes or disinfecting wipes to gently clean devices. These wipes can be used on hard, nonporous surfaces such as the display, keyboard and other exterior components. Try to also avoid setting devices on public surfaces and, whenever possible, refrain from asking others to touch and/or hand you your device.

The coronavirus pandemic has certainly given us a new perspective on what it means to be connected. As we transition back to work, shopping, dining, visiting with friends and celebrating milestones with loved ones this summer, it’s more important than ever that we remember to mind our mobile manners.

Matt Kasper, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in New England.

Categories: Technology
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