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When, Where, and How NOT to use your cellphones

Updated on February 8, 2012

Wherever you go or look, people use their cellphones. When you take the subway, passengers check their emails on the Blackberries. People watch movies on their IPhones and take pictures. But before you start speed dialing your significant other, be sure you know your cellphone etiquette. Here are tips on where, when, and how not to use your cellphones.

1. Driving a car- Oprah Winfrey started a movement in her defunct talk show which prohibits drivers from texting while driving. Numerous accidents have been reported due to distracted driving. A bluetooth is a better alternative. It is tempting to use the phone especially when you're expecting a phone call. But your hands should be on the steering wheel and not on your Android.

2. Church- People go to churches to pray and not to take pictures of the interiors of the house of God. In the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington, D.C., before the mass starts, we are reminded to silence our phones. It is a sign of disrespect to those people who want to spend some moments of silence. It would be inappropriate if a sermon would be rudely interrupted by a Lady Gaga ringtone.

3. Theater- A theater should be as silent as the library. People pay $10 to enjoy the presentation in Dolby Digital Sound. Patrons shouldn't spoil the fun by allowing your cellphone to ring. Don't create your own musical score with the help of your ring tone. Quoting a line from an AMC Theater anoouncement, silence is golden.

4. Classroom- Based on my experience, I've been distracted by the sound of cellphones while the teacher is in the middle of a discussion. If you need to use your phone, step outside. How would you feel if the teacher uses her cellphone while she is teaching the lesson? A classroom is a place to learn and not to converse using an electronic device.

5. Dinner Table- Whether you are having dinner with your boyfriend or family, put your phone down. It's bad manners to talk to somebody on your phone when you are having dinner. Family time is precious. If your phone rings, tell the person to call back after dinner or return his phone call right after you finish eating. The time spent on your family is more important than a phone call.

6. Job Interview- Most applicants have the habit of not turning off their phones when going for a job interview. Employers would not hire the applicant if the cellphone rings at the middle of the interview. It just goes to show that you are not taking the interview seriously.

7. Meetings- When you are in the middle of a staff meeting or any kind of convention, make sure your phone is on silent mode. When your boss calls for a meeting, it means there are important matters that need to be discussed such as laying off employees, firing employees with a diva attitude, salary negotiations, and promotions. Your boss might bypass your promotion if you don't pay attention to the meeting.

8. Office- Many employees are guilty of using their cellphones while working at their desks. Wait for your break before you place a call. You can use your landline in the office, but don't make it a habit. Your superiors won't like it if your hands are on your Smartphone all day.

9. Library- Students go to the library to read. This is a time when students shouldn't multi-task. Focus your attention on your studies by shutting off your phone. I was in a school's library once and there was one student whose cellphone kept on ringing. I had to raise my voice and tell him to turn the device off.

Your cellphone needs a break just as much as you need yours. Rudeness has no place on earth and safety should not be compromised. Keep your hands free from texting unless it's necessary. Mind your manners.

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