Some people think that mobile phone etiquette is overrated and outdated. I can’t think of anything else that’s so far from the truth. The population’s use of their mobile phones in public affects all of us.
One gadget that’s overused and misused is the smartphone. We simply can’t live without it and it’s understandable. Living up to its coined name, the smartphone is undeniably smart. You can keep in touch with others, surf, read, shop, listen to music and podcasts, play games, take and check out photos and videos, and so much more. It’s not surprising that the smartphone has made public transport trips more fun or at least more bearable.
Let’s blame the not-so-smart use of smartphones. Since there are many things we can do on mobile phones, some think that they can use our theirs wherever and whenever. They must’ve forgotten that courtesy and respect are equally if not more important than technology.
When on public transport and you see people glaring at you or shaking their head in disbelief, chances are you’re disobeying at least one unspoken mobile phone etiquette rule.
Top 1 Mobile Phone Etiquette Rule: Don’t talk too loudly on the phone.
If you have to talk to someone on the phone while you’re on a bus, tram, ferry or train, use your quiet voice. People aren’t interested in what you did last night, your issues with your housemate or what you’re cooking for dinner. Show consideration to people who would like to catch some Zs, rest, study, work, read, write, think, imagine, or listen to music or podcasts.
Top 2 Mobile Phone Etiquette Rule: Don’t play music for everyone on board.
Our music preferences are different so please don’t play disc jockey on any public transport. Put your headphones or earphones on if you want to listen to music or podcasts, and let the rest of the passengers enjoy theirs and more importantly their peace and quiet.
Top 3 Mobile Phone Etiquette Rule: Look up to check if there’s someone in need.
Sometimes, we get too engrossed in our smartphones that we escape reality. Look up from time to time to make sure no one needs your seat or needs you to scoot over in order to make some room.
Top 4 Mobile Phone Etiquette Rule: Don’t play your game with too much zest.
The transport you’re on is not an Internet café, and the person sitting next to you isn’t a fellow gamer. Avoid getting overly excited as you might end up making noises in reaction to your game performance.
Top 5 Mobile Phone Etiquette Rule: Eyes on your phone only.
A fellow passenger may be looking at something interesting on his or her phone, but that doesn’t give you the green light to check it out for yourself or worse give unsolicited comments. If you find yourself peeking, avert your eyes. Think of how you’d feel if there were some stranger checking out your screen.
A recent incident on the train has made me believe that there is still hope for our smartphone-addicted generation. A man whispered to the person he was talking to on the other line to call him back because he was on the train. I watched that scene unfold with a huge smile on my face.
Mobile phone etiquette rules aren’t impractical and certainly not difficult to follow. In fact, they’re so simple, so I can’t help but hope that with sufficient awareness more people will become more responsible and smarter smartphone users.