It’s good to exercise mobile phone etiquette

Tribesmen in Samburu national reserve. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Are you a good mobile phone user? Well, you may be quick to say yes, but if phone etiquette is defined, you may stammer a little before giving your response.

You will agree with me that you have once handled you mobile phone in a manner that kept those around you wondering. Mobile phones are ubiquitous and research shows that although most users think they have good mobile phone manners, many people report being irritated or annoyed by users of the phones especially in public places.

For instance, it’s a church service and the congregation is concentrated to the sermon of the day. Then a phone rings in full blast. It belongs to an old mama who unfortunately doesn’t remember where she put it. She goes from pocket to pocket in order to locate it all in vein. At last, the ring time ends and she takes a deep sigh of relief. The persistent caller rings again. 

This time, the tone, some local jazz song, is even louder. The congregation by that time has shifted their attention from the pastor. The man of God equally appears confused as he tries to calm down the congregation with ‘Praise God’ salutations.

The mama finally decides to carry the whole handbag, squeezes her way through the packed church with the phone ringing and sluggishly walks out. She finds it as she approaches the exit door.

She picks and yells ‘haroo’ as she disappears. The pastor takes a handkerchief and wipes his face as he tries to recollect his points.

People are in a meeting and members are brainstorming on the agenda. Then one of the member’s phone rings. The ring tone is a cat meowing sound effect. He receives without excusing himself and says a big ‘hallo’ disrupting everyone else.

The earpiece seems to have a fault and he opts to speak on loudspeaker. It’s his wife quarreling that she has found a packet of condoms in his trouser pockets. Finally, the dirty linen is washed in public.

A motorbike rider is descending a steep gradient carrying a client. His phone rings calls and he pick using one hand while trying to balance the handlebar on the there.

Suddenly, he comes across a pothole and he loses his stability leading to a fall. The journey comes to an instant end. 

As you use your phone, respect those you are with at that time. If you are engaged in a face-to-face with others, say a meeting or conversation, give them your fill and undivided attention. Avoid texting or taking calls. If it’s an important one, apologize and ask for permission before receiving it. Don’t yell. Always be mindful of your volume. A phone mouthpiece can pick even a whisper.

Don’t text and drive. There is no message that is as important as your life. Don’t ignore universal quiet places such as theatre, church, library et al. As you speak in public, try to keep at least three meters between you and others. Good mobile phone etiquette is similar to common courtesy. Conversations and ‘chatting’ have a tendency of distracting people from what’s happening in front of them. As we use our phones, let’s be thoughtful, courteous and respect the people around us.

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