Cell Phones at School and Work:

You’re in the middle of a business meeting, interview, math class or church service when the whole room is filled with someone’s favorite ringtone. They retrieve the phone and let it ring two more times – consulting the caller ID screen to see if they want to accept the call. Of course, they answer it.

I sure hope the call was important, because they just lost major points with their boss or co-workers, disrupted their class or brought a spotlight to their thoughtlessness and disregard for others.

Cell Phones and Tablets can be a major time saver. They can also be a major nuisance unless the owner of the device is sensitive to those around them.

Imagine yourself ordering a meal at a nice restaurant where the waiter receives and reads a text message. He texts back before placing your order. I’ll bet you’d be irritated. You may even complain to a manager, and not return to the restaurant. You may even tell your friends about the poor service. How dare they be so insensitive as to ruin your dining experience!

If an employee is doing personal business while being paid, they aren’t doing their job, or at least aren’t paying full attention to what they are doing. The bottom line is that the employer is paying for something they aren’t receiving, and the employee is running off business.

How about the phone that rings during class; or the I-Pod under the sweatshirt hood playing loud enough for others to hear? As a student, you are being robbed of the opportunity to learn because of the interruption. Are you at least a little bit sorry for the teacher who has to deal with the interruption?

A short distraction may not sound like a big deal, but think about that happening once a period in even half the classrooms at every high school? Those few minutes of interruption turn into hundreds of hours of impact to teachers and students who were following the rules.

Do you think you can do more than one thing at a time? Have you ever been behind a person stopped at a green light, or traveling 25mph in a 40 mile zone or making a 5 mph turn? Chances are most of these traffic ‘cloggers’ were on their cell phones. At least they are now supposed to be hands free. We’ll see if that makes a difference. Prior to July 1st we could at least see them leaning to one side with their elbow out – a sure sign we should step up our defensive driving.

The point is this – Let’s all use some common sense and common courtesy when using cell phones:

  • Turn off the phone while at work, or at least turn off the ringer.
  • Send all calls to your voicemail unless you have an emergency and have cleared the phone use with a supervisor.
  • Use your break to retrieve and return calls.
  • Return private calls away from your work area to avoid disrupting the work of others. If you must take a call at work or in public, keep your voice down.
  • Turn off your phone during meetings.
  • While at school, don’t text, make or receive calls or use your phone camera to cheat on a test during class.

If you’re still unclear as to whether it’s a problem to receive or make non-emergency calls during work or school, the short answer is yes, it is. If you’re already practicing safety and courtesy, thank you. For all of our sake, please concentrate on what you are doing while driving, or at work or school by making and receiving calls when it is safe to do so. And, just so you know, those around you really aren’t interested in listening to one side of your conversation.