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Cell phone etiquette for teens


Mimm
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I already make my girls put the phones away when we're hanging out with people, at a family dinner, whatever. They are good about silencing their phones (too good sometimes- they forget to turn them back on and I have a hard time getting ahold of them... but that's this whole other rant).

 

However, Oldest and I clash on one thing: talking on the phone around other people (me) when you aren't exactly spending time with that person. So I'll be in the living room, and she'll get a phone call, and she'll want to sit there loudly talking on the phone. It has gotten worse since after a couple bad drops, her phone can only make calls on speaker. These are typically not short conversations for the purpose of relaying information or making plans but long chatty conversations. Oldest is not a quiet person in general and I'm a pretty noise sensitive person which makes us a little incompatible. :)

 

I always step out of the room to talk on the phone. Just as much for the sake of who I am on the phone with as for the sake of the people in the room. During a short speaker phone conversation (before I told her to take it to her room), Oldest apologized twice for the bird chirping loudly and the three year old singing. I also feel like people in a room should be able to talk to each other if needed without worrying about a phone conversation happening in the room, or without having to talk over people who are talking. Again, if these were short conversations of a couple minutes, I would put up with it, but long chatty conversations with no purpose but to chat with a friend seem best had in relative privacy.

 

Oldest thinks I'm a weirdo who is being overly persnickety. I know the Hive will be honest with me. Am I being weird about this whole situation? What cell phone etiquette do you enforce with your teens?

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You are 100% correct.

 

An unralated etiquette issue.... Why do people use speaker phone to talk in public places?? Seriously?? Isn't it rude enough to talk on the phone while shopping? Do we really have to listen to you scream? (And no, I have never been passive aggressive and spoken really loud in the same area...never....)

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will her phone use an ear bud or bluetooth?

 

if it's during a time period she's allowed to be on the phone, I'd make her leave the room to talk to her friends so she isn't bothering those in the room.  

 

dh lives on his phone for business - I make him leave the room to talk, and he doesn't  use the speaker.

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You are 100% correct.

 

An unralated etiquette issue.... Why do people use speaker phone to talk in public places?? Seriously?? Isn't it rude enough to talk on the phone while shopping? Do we really have to listen to you scream? (And no, I have never been passive aggressive and spoken really loud in the same area...never....)

 

My father does this and it drives me CRAZY. I seriously need to find my big girl panties and just call him out on it. He was doing this at a table at a restaurant and I wanted to die.

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If she won't take the hint, then join the conversation! Be sure to interrupt and say things like "Friend can you repeat that last part, I didn't hear it clearly!" Nothing a teen loves more than her mother as part of the conversation!!

 

Hey if you are sitting here in the room with me, with it on speaker, you MUST want me to be part of the call!

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Funny how things change.  Back when we all had landlines plugged into the wall, you would have been the one stepping out of the room because your daughter could only have moved to the end of a 6 foot cord!

 

If other people are watching TV and I get a phone call, it's polite for me to move out of the room so I don't disturb them.

If someone is on a phone call, then it's polite for me to not do things that make it hard for them to talk.

 

IMO it goes both ways.  If she is disturbing you when she is talking on the speaker phone, it's ok to ask her to step out.  But if she's on the phone and you walk in, it's on you to remove yourself if it bothers you.

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Just as a different perspective...I am so impressed she talks on the phone! Having worked with teens in the generation, many of them have fear and aversion to talking on the phone and only text. I also am impressed she doesn't immediately go into another room to hide her conversation from her family. She is transparent with you which is so amazing :)

 

I agree, letting her know to leave the room for etiquette purposes but I also wanted to let you know to count yourself as lucky ;)

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Funny how things change.  Back when we all had landlines plugged into the wall, you would have been the one stepping out of the room because your daughter could only have moved to the end of a 6 foot cord!

 

If other people are watching TV and I get a phone call, it's polite for me to move out of the room so I don't disturb them.

If someone is on a phone call, then it's polite for me to not do things that make it hard for them to talk.

 

IMO it goes both ways.  If she is disturbing you when she is talking on the speaker phone, it's ok to ask her to step out.  But if she's on the phone and you walk in, it's on you to remove yourself if it bothers you.

 

See, I feel like the communal areas of the house are where everyone should be able to be. These areas are for socializing with each other or for doing activities alone that are not disruptive to other people. If you are doing an activity that is too disruptive to other people, or if you are doing something that requires a level of quiet and concentration that's unrealistic to impose on a household with a three year old, then there are rooms where quiet and privacy can be found.

 

And yes, things were different with corded phones. Some of my friends had phones in their rooms, but my family generally had cordless phones. :)

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Just as a different perspective...I am so impressed she talks on the phone! Having worked with teens in the generation, many of them have fear and aversion to talking on the phone and only text. I also am impressed she doesn't immediately go into another room to hide her conversation from her family. She is transparent with you which is so amazing :)

 

I agree, letting her know to leave the room for etiquette purposes but I also wanted to let you know to count yourself as lucky ;)

 

This is true. She mostly does text with her friends. I've noticed this about my teens, that I haven't done a good job coaching them on how to make calls. I received more explicit instruction at a younger age and my kids have more phone anxiety than I did at that age, when calling someone they don't know well. They have much fewer opportunities to practice that kind of thing.

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First conversation occurring in the room takes precedence.

If a person is hanging out with other people and then wishes to carrry on a private phone conversation, she has to move to a private location. It is not appropriate to hush the people who are there or interfere with their conversation.

Now, if she is in a room already having a conversation on speaker phone and somebody else enters, the onus is on the otehr person to remove themselves.

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I hide in another room when I'm on the phone because I don't want people listening in.  DH will listen to my side of a converation and make loud comments, hoping that the person I'm talking to will be able to hear him, or hoping I'll repeat them.  That drives me BONKERS.  

 

I'd ask her to go to a private room if she's going to have a conversation with someone.  Talking loudly in one of the pubic rooms of the house is rude to everyone else whose brains are now filled with the phone conversation and they have to work on blocking it out in order to think their own thoughts.  

Edited by Garga
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First conversation occurring in the room takes precedence.

If a person is hanging out with other people and then wishes to carrry on a private phone conversation, she has to move to a private location. It is not appropriate to hush the people who are there or interfere with their conversation.

Now, if she is in a room already having a conversation on speaker phone and somebody else enters, the onus is on the otehr person to remove themselves.

So if the teen is having a phone conversation in the family room for 30+ minutes and the 3 year old wants to watch a cartoon on the tv (only available in that room) you wouldn't ask the teen to find someplace else?
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So if the teen is having a phone conversation in the family room for 30+ minutes and the 3 year old wants to watch a cartoon on the tv (only available in that room) you wouldn't ask the teen to find someplace else?

 

yes, if this was the only room for the 3y/o to watch, and it needs to happen right then, the teen should be considerate and find another room.

 

 

Edited by regentrude
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So if the teen is having a phone conversation in the family room for 30+ minutes and the 3 year old wants to watch a cartoon on the tv (only available in that room) you wouldn't ask the teen to find someplace else?

 

Absolutely

 

I'm assuming you have more than one room in your house so not like you are saying no you can't talk...just that you need to talk elsewhere.

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I basically agree with Regentrude. Communal spaces are first come, first served around here. If you want to use them for something else when someone in already in there, then the person who wants the room politely states their case and asks and if it makes sense (like you can do what you're doing anywhere but there's only enough room for or a device for something there) the person using the room politely cedes it. If it doesn't make sense (both parties can do what they're doing anywhere) then the person who got there first can just politely say no.

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First conversation occurring in the room takes precedence.

If a person is hanging out with other people and then wishes to carrry on a private phone conversation, she has to move to a private location. It is not appropriate to hush the people who are there or interfere with their conversation.

Now, if she is in a room already having a conversation on speaker phone and somebody else enters, the onus is on the otehr person to remove themselves.

 

 

I basically agree with Regentrude. Communal spaces are first come, first served around here.  

 

This doesn't make sense for talking on speaker phone to me, especially for more than a moment, because it's so very easy to get up and got to your room. Our communal spaces are exactly that, communal, and meant to be used by multiple people at once. No one can take over the room just because they got their first. 

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I basically agree with Regentrude. Communal spaces are first come, first served around here. If you want to use them for something else when someone in already in there, then the person who wants the room politely states their case and asks and if it makes sense (like you can do what you're doing anywhere but there's only enough room for or a device for something there) the person using the room politely cedes it. If it doesn't make sense (both parties can do what they're doing anywhere) then the person who got there first can just politely say no.

 

Interesting. Our communal spaces are almost never empty so it's kind of moot but even if they were, I consider communal space a place where anyone can be in a reasonably non-disruptive manner. Even the three year old is expected to behave in such a way that she is not disruptive to the other people there. If she wants to throw a bouncy ball or be very loud or whatever, she has a room, or she can go outside. Obviously if you are in the living room alone, you can be disruptive because there is no one there you are disrupting, but as soon as someone else shows up, you need to be less disruptive. Their right to enjoy the living room peacefully doesn't end because they weren't there first.

 

Now, I'm not demanding silence or anything. We play music, but it needs to be music everyone is ok with listening to. We play video games, but everyone has headphones and if someone doesn't want to listen to your video game sounds, anyone can ask you to use your headphones. Basically, conversation needs to be able to happen between the people in the room.

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This doesn't make sense for talking on speaker phone to me, especially for more than a moment, because it's so very easy to get up and got to your room. Our communal spaces are exactly that, communal, and meant to be used by multiple people at once. No one can take over the room just because they got their first. 

 

I suppose this is just down to different expectations. Our communal spaces are spaces that anyone can use, but don't necessarily have to be used by multiple people. Sometimes they're used to quiet reading or working. Sometimes for watching TV or video games on the TV (and thus without headphones). Sometimes for phone calls. Dh does work conference calls in the living room routinely and none of us think it's rude.

 

We do generally go by who was there first. And if a rearrangement makes sense (someone wanted to play a game that only works in another room or be able to be social with a larger group and needs a different space or something along those lines), then everyone is nice about reshuffling. But if you want to come in the living room and use it for being social with your siblings when I was already in here reading, no. Out. But if I am looking for a place to read and the kids are in there talking, then I'm the one who needs to leave and find somewhere else.

 

ETA: I think it's probably important to note that we're not a large family and while we have a small house and all our communal spaces are relatively small, we also have multiple options. If a family only really has one large communal space and has many members, then keeping it clear probably makes more sense than in our family of four where we have both a small basement den and a small living room that are basically equally equipped for sitting and media.

Edited by Farrar
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