There is a fine line between using the phone to help you rather than having your life depend on it. Be respectful when using your phone in public.

By Jasmine Haroun

Mobile phones are undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest inventions. We conduct research using them, we take and store thousands of photos, we attend to business through them and we call and text our family and friends. In our hands, we carry powerful tools that can be used to change the quality of a person’s life—some for better and some for the worse.

Smartphones especially have become more and more ubiquitous in recent years. It is to the point that smartphones nowadays have become a necessity more than a tool. For some people, cell phones control their lives instead of the other way around.

According to psychologist Dr. Mike Brooks, “Because smartphones represent a gateway to meet our psychological needs, we are typically in a state of continuous partial attention.”

Furthermore, it is shown by the research website, StudyFinds, that on average, a person will peek at their phone at least 300 times a day. Some experts believe that smartphones can, and will soon, become an addiction, especially for the newer generations.

Generation X in particular includes the group of people that have never lived a day knowing what life is like without a smartphone. Starting as early as age 5, some parents will give their child a phone. They grow up relying on the phone and cannot handle a day without one to the point of having withdrawal symptoms.

Jim Luce, a contributor and writer for the Huffington Post, noted, “Some believe that the same technology that has liberated our world might also imprison us if we don’t seriously examine its effects on us personally and collectively.”

Mobile phones have pushed this world to develop faster and better than anyone could have imagined. They connect us to people all over the world in minutes, can save thousands and thousands of pictures and documents to the cloud and support gaming, social media and other platforms. They can even get us almost any information in a matter of seconds.

Yet, with all of this happening on this one device, one thing we all tend to overlook is cell phone etiquette.

Here are some mobile phone etiquette tips to make sure your phone does not control your life and you are respectful when using it in public.

•Do not text or call during a face-to-face conversation.
•Never talk or text while driving.
•Lower your voice when talking on the phone in public; try not to shout.
•Filter your language when talking on your phone in public.
•Try to not defer back to your phone when in uncomfortable situations. Instead, engage and meet the new people around you.
•Turn off your phone in places such as a church, temple or theater.
•Do not use your phone at the dinner table. This is a time to talk with your family.
•Resist the temptation to constantly check your phone.

Mobile phones have become a reliable tool that we use in our everyday lives. They can help us with almost anything. Yet, there is a fine line between using the phone to help you rather than having your life depend on it.

It is because we cannot limit our screen time that we are controlled by our devices. There needs to be a balance between human interaction and phone interaction.
Florie Brizel, the founder of Brizel Media, included in her interview with the Huffington Post, “Of course, technology and humanity are not necessarily compatible. One is about an anonymous push forward into the unknown. The other is about paying undivided attention to the individual and the world in front of you. Both are necessary. The challenge is figuring out how to use technology to enhance humanity, not degrade it.”