#PhoneEtiquette  - 4 June 2018 - By, Jason MacGregor

#PhoneEtiquette - 4 June 2018 - By, Jason MacGregor

From the responses we got about Island Maxims, it was clear that Phone Etiquette is what bothers Islanders the most.

So let’s start there.

Let’s first agree that smartphones are amazing pieces of technology. Seriously. Just think about how such a tiny little metal box that fits into your pocket has enough power to send a spaceship into orbit, or tell you almost anything you need to know. And one day, that amazing piece of magic is going to be considered archaic by some new piece of technology.

But no matter how amazing it is, some Islanders just don’t get how obnoxious or just plain rude they can be when using their phone. So let’s lay down some basic rules:

  • Put your phone away at the dinner table. If you really want your friends to stay accountable, put your phones in a pile in the centre of the table. Whoever grabs theirs first before the bills are paid gets to pay for everyones desert!


  • Don’t shout when you’re talking on the phone. Don’t be that guy. Take it outside.

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  • Never, ever, text and drive. It’s against the law, but really it’s just not cool. Is that call really that important?


  • At work? Don’t text. Save it for the break or for when you get home.


  • At church or the theatre? Go ahead, quickly look at the time. A lot of people use their phones instead of wrist watch these days. That’s fine. But if you think twice about checking your texts or emails, then Jesus should come down off that cross, or Tom Hanks should pop out of that scene to rightfully give you a good whoopin'.

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  • Turn the volume off. Remember when we talked about how advanced your phone is? Yeah, it even has the power to not click-clack away whenever you’re texting.


  • Turn the volume down. If you wanna show your friends a funny video or listen to a new song, then go somewhere private or just make sure you’re in the right environment. Hint: Robertson Library at UPEI isn’t one.


  • Lower your fuckin' voice. If you’re trying to imitate people in movies who give orders into their phone, then here’s some insight. None of that is real. Normal people don’t go around shouting into their phone like they’re President Trump preparing to nuke North Korea for calling him stupid. If you need to talk on your phone in public, keep it quiet.


  • Here’s some gossip--oh wait, one sec, gotta take this….Don’t answer your phone when you’re having a face to face chat with someone. Even if it’s in your own house or theirs. It’s rather disrespectful.


  • Should you ever take photos of the Amish? There are quite a few Amish people in King’s County these days and you may run into them. They find it very, very disrespectful to have their photos taken. If you’re the type to say, so what, I’ll take photos of whatever I want, then you best also be a loud opponent of other things about the Amish culture. Womens’ rights, and freedom of speech just to name a couple.

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  • Cellphones are fickle things. It’s safest just to keep it out of sight when you’re outside of your bed or bathroom. Putting it on the table send the wrong message, unless you make it clear that you’re waiting for an important call.


  • Reaching for your cellphone should be the exception, not the rule. Whether you’re nervously waiting for someone, or out in nature, try not to grab your phone as a distraction. Enjoy the moment, even if you’re about to shit yourself with fear. Besides that, it’s scientifically proven that it’s bad for your health to constantly distract yourself by looking at your phone. Every hour or two, we should be giving ourselves a solid fifteen or twenty minutes (at least) to simply absorb thoughts into memory without any distractions.


  • At the beach? Be at the beach, not on the web! Part of having a solid Instagram profile is knowing when to sneak a good photo.


  • If you've read all this then you're a smart human being. These are guidelines, not rules. The environment will dictate when is a good or bad time to use your phone. Just remember to stick to that golden rule of thinking about others. 


Don’t worry because like it or not our cellphones will be a thing of the past in a few years. Just like the rotary phone, or the party line. We don’t know what it will look like, but rest assured, we won’t need to worry about answering that call in the middle of church or at a restaurant.

Instead we might need to worry when someones pupil looks brighter than usual.

  Not looking at porn right now--Don't worry about it!   Photo Credit: Black Mirror 4 Channel

Not looking at porn right now--Don't worry about it!  Photo Credit: Black Mirror 4 Channel

Here’s the next question. So someone is blatantly throwing their phone etiquette out the window. Most Islanders wouldn’t want to say they’re frustrated. But perhaps there is there a word that can be used to gently make people realize they're being a douche? A safe word, per se. Or a codeword?

Any ideas?

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