What are your cell phone family rules? I have a few of my own basic rules for my kids. First of all, they won’t get a phone – any phone – until junior high when they are out on their own. If they want a smartphone of any kind, they can get one when they have a job and can pay for the extra charges themselves. Since a regular phone can send texts and makes calls, and they have a computer at home, I don’t see the need to provide a smartphone. But if they want to work for one, go for it. I remind my kids to not walk and text blindly out in the street and guard their phones, especially on the train, but that’s about it.
Lately, however I’m starting to think I should institute some more family rules because every time I talk to my oldest, she is half-listening while attached to her phone. So it didn’t surprise me at all when I read about a study that says a having a cell phone in the room with you makes you feel less close to the person you’re with.
And it isn’t just kids and teens that have bad cell phone etiquette; adults are worse. How many times have you been out with a friend or in a meeting when someone has to take a call or send a quick text in the middle of your conversation?
I admit I usually have my phone with me at all times, but I try not to check it when I’m talking with someone. Still, I’ve had my days too where I’m typing away at my computer, trying to finish up a bit of work or shoot off an email while my kids are telling me something. In couples, the annoyance can be even worse because always picking up your phone does take something away from your time with each other, even if you’re just watching TV together. In adult public situations, it’s unnerving. Last night at a PTA meeting, the teacher just began talking about what would take place in 5th grade this year and three parents were texting away directly in front of her. So rude.
Tell us in the comments below: What’s your policy on cell phone rules for your family? Do you think that the mere presence of a cell phone takes away from the closeness between two people? Does it infuriate you when your lunch mate places their phone on the table in case they get a call?