Cellphone Etiquette for Kids - Being Smart About Personal Technology

We study digital citizenship, netiquette, and web safety in my class.  We're always trying to learn and do a better job of using electronics and digital tools appropriately and intelligently.

The New York Times' Gadgetwise blog has some good advice about cell phone manners for both parents and kids in Warren Buckleitner's article last week.

". . . what kids should know:

  • Always take calls from the person who is paying the bill.
  • Please (PLZ) and thank you (TY) work like magic, even if you text them. Manners will never go out of style, in any form.
  • Abide by your school or library’s cellphone policy. A ring during an art lesson can land you in detention, just as unsilenced phones can get your mom or dad in trouble during a religious service or on the commuter bus from Flemington to Port Authority.
  • Be charitable. Your phone is a powerful tool that can help a kid stranded after soccer practice.
  • Don’t be sneaky. Instead of hiding your cellphone under the picnic table, let everyone in on the unfolding drama of your text streams. You’ll be surprised how much adults love gossip, and it helps them learn about what’s going on in your life.
  • Timing is everything, especially when you take that call. If you politely excuse yourself and step into the next room, you might just avoid Grandpa’s ire.
  • Don’t get your friends in trouble. If you know they’re at a family dinner or it is getting late, be polite and say “text me when your dinner is over.”
  • Don’t text bad words or embarrassing messages friends. It can get you and your friend in trouble when their parents snoop through their messages. And they do.
  • Planning an argument? Do it in person. Cellphones are also recorders, and text messages can end up on a Facebook page.
  • Earbuds and open screens say, “go away; I don’t want to talk to you.” Try pulling out your ear buds and closing your screen, and giving someone your full attention. It works like magic.
  • Look them in the eyes. The technical term for it is “interpersonal communication” — and it’s such a big deal that the educational psychologist Howard Gardner counts it as a multiple intelligence. You don’t develop these skills if you’re glued to a screen.
  • Keep something disarming as your wallpaper, like one of your parents’ wedding photos, just in case your phone gets confiscated.

 Go to the article to see the additional tips directed at parents.