8 Cell Phone Etiquette Tips for Kids and Teens

Cellphone Etiquette Tips

They other day I was at the airport flying from Minneapolis to Chicago. With an hour to spare, I decided to dive into a book I’m reading, “Lean In”. One problem. A teenage boy was pacing back and forth while speaking loudly on his phone which made it impossible to concentrate. I would have moved, but the full passenger waiting area forced me to put my book away and instead peruse Facebook. 

A new study from the Pew Research Center that looks at Americans’ views on mobile etiquette shows that kids and teens are some of the worst offenders. 

Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of National Cell Phone Courtesy Month and an internationally-recognized etiquette expert, offers these tips for parents and young adults to be more respectful of their surroundings:


  1. Be all there: When you’re in a meeting, performance, courtroom or other busy area, let calls go to voicemail to avoid a disruption. In some instances, turning your phone off may be the best solution.
  2. Keep it private: Be aware of your surroundings and avoid discussing private or confidential information in public. You never know who may be in hearing range.
  3. Keep your cool: Don’t display anger during a public call. Conversations that are likely to be emotional should be held where they will not embarrass or intrude on others.
  4. Learn to vibe: Always use your wireless phone’s silent or vibration settings in public places such as business meetings, religious services, schools, restaurants, theaters or sporting events so that you do not disrupt your surroundings.
  5. Avoid “cell yell:” Remember to use your regular conversational tone when speaking on your wireless phone. People tend to speak more loudly than normal and often don’t recognize how distracting they can be to others.
  6. Follow the rules: Some places, such as hospitals or airplanes, restrict or prohibit the use of mobile phones, so adhere to posted signs and instructions. Some jurisdictions may also restrict mobile phone use in public places.
  7. Excuse yourself. If you are expecting a call that can’t be postponed, alert your companions ahead of time and excuse yourself when the call comes in; the people you are with should take precedence over calls you want to make or receive.
  8. Focus on driving: Always practice wireless responsibility while driving. Don’t make or answer calls while in heavy traffic or in hazardous driving conditions. Place calls when your vehicle is not moving, and use a hands-free device to help focus attention on safety. Always make safety your most important call.  And always check the laws of your particular state.

Please share these etiquette tips with your children and teens and if you have a spouse or friend that could use these tips, share these with them too. Are there any tips missing from this list?

Courtney Lawless

Courtney is the traveling mom! She has 3 girls and is the founder of Detroit Mommies and currently lives in Florida. You can follow her on Twitter @courtneyRVL.

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