Odds are that you might be reading this on a smartphone, which is great- unless you’re driving. Or otherwise engaged in a face-to-face interaction or business transaction. Or walking in a crosswalk.

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As over 2.6 billion cell phone users spend an average of 4 hours per day staring at their screen, some might have forgotten how to mind their manners. Enter national cell phone courtesy month- a month designed to educate cell phone users on proper etiquette.

And now for a Cell Phone Courtesy Month public service announcement as to the ways that you can look like less of a jerk:


Out of sight, out of mind. whether you’re out with friends or on a date, keep your phone in your pocket. A phone out in the open phone sends the message to the people that you’re with that they’re a lower priority than whatever else might come through (Naturally, exceptions should be made for those expecting emergency calls). If you can’t put it away, put it on silent. As always, put it on silent at meetings, church, or other important events.

Just shut up already. Unless you’re singlehandedly curing cancer or directing engineers how to remove the Thai soccer players from the cave, nobody cares what you have to say. The most extreme form of judgment should be reserved for those who talk on cell phones while in public bathroom stalls. Nobody needs to hear that and the person on the other end doesn’t need to hear your fellow bathroom patrons flushing. The general rule of thumb is to walk about 10 feet away from others when using your cell phone.

Put down the phone and drive. Selfies are great. Selfies with your new car are great. Selfie videos in your car (unless the video is directly related to the car itself) were created by Satan himself to provide an outlet for the biggest douches in the world to spout their ill-informed rhetoric while not checking their blind spot and if parked, unnecessarily polluting the environment. Same goes for lip-syncing Rihanna. Just don’t. You know what they used to call people who talked to themselves in cars? Crazy.

Remember that it’s a cell phone, not a crutch. Yes, new situations can be uncomfortable, but staring at your cell phone the whole time doesn’t make you look socially awkward-but-cute. It makes you look like a snob. Sharon Schweitzer, a cross-cultural etiquette expert, advises: “Don’t use your phone when you are not sure what else to do in uncomfortable situations. If you walk into a new office or even a wedding reception and don’t know anyone, take time to engage with people face-to-face. Deferring back to your phone as a crutch will keep you from truly connecting with the people around you.”

No one is saying that anyone should give up their device and return to pay phones and Motorola Razrs. Just remember to be smart about using your smartphone.

About The Author

Zoe has been a staff writer at The Source since January of 2017. She specializes in pop culture, music, tech, politics, women's issues, and more. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @zoeshrugged.

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