The virtual world is, most of the time, more enchanting than the real world. We love iPhone and other smartphones because they are portals that allow us to enter a world of our choice—when you have a good smartphone in your hand, you don’t care about your surroundings.
As a result, its not surprising that most of us end up abusing the technology instead of using it responsibly. I am addicted to my smartphone and am guilty of breaking all the rules of responsible smartphone usage: I have bored my friends and colleagues by babbling about my apps for days, I have berated my friends who use a different smartphone, and I have used my iPhone while watching a movie in a theatre.
I realized that it is not just me who does all this—everyone around me does it too. People bellow into their phones in public, they ignore the person sitting next to them to talk on their phones, and they panic if they can’t locate their devices. Although usually polite and considerate, I too turn into a boorish technology abuser when I have my mobile in my hands. This year, I intend to follow ten rules of smartphone use and be more responsible with my iPhone, and they may help you too. Here they are:
#1 Set a Time Limit
Facebook, YouTube, games and a thousand entertaining applications tempt you to give up sleeping forever. Desist. Set a time limit: avoid using your smartphone after a certain time at night and before a certain time in the morning. Get a good night’s sleep.
#2 Don’t Play Games All the Time
I spend hours playing games on my mobile—hours that could be used doing something constructive instead, and I bet you make the same mistake. After all, games are designed to be addictive. Play games, but only if you can put a limit on the amount of time you spend on them.
#3 Pick Important Calls
A smartphone is not merely a device for receiving and making calls; it is like a fast mini-computer with thousands of applications. So, there is a tendency to ignore calls and continue with other activities (at least, I tend to do that). If someone calls you to talk about something important, you should take that call—it’s just good manners to do so.
#4 Avoid Obsessive Browsing
24/7 internet connectivity is like fire: it’s a good servant, but a bad master, and most of us are slaves to it. Make a determined effort to avoid unproductive and obsessive browsing.
#5 Don’t Photograph & Share Everything
This is something I am constantly guilty of doing. I want to capture every event of my life and everything around me, which isn’t necessarily bad, but I miss the present moment by focusing on capturing it and sharing it online. If you do the same, then you are missing out on real life and looking at the world through a tiny camera lens.
#6 Don’t Ignore People
Even the most polite smartphone users ignore waiters and cash register personnel. While standing in line, we often talk on the phone to make good use of our time, but then we continue talking and just use gestures to interact with those providing us with service. Keep the caller on hold for a while and make a connection with the people in front of you.
#7 Don’t Text Insulting Messages
It is easy to be rude and insulting while you are debating an issue via texts, especially when you are commenting on sites like YouTube. You may end up using abusive language or childish arguments because of the sense of anonymity involved. Try to avoid saying things that you would generally not say to someone’s face.
#8 Don’t Shout While Talking
Even rude smartphone users don’t like other loud, rude mobile users. If you take a call in an elevator and start talking loudly, you will attract the focused hate of all the people around you. Whenever you are in a public place, avoid talking on your phone, or at least speak softly.
#9 Don’t Text While Driving
This is not a question of etiquette, but a question of safety. Even if you are great at multitasking, it is not a good idea to mix driving with texting—it’s a recipe for disaster. No matter how good you are, you have to take your eyes off the road and look at the phone screen to read or write texts. Avoid texting while driving it at all costs.
#10 Take a Break From Your Phone
Dependency is never a good thing. If you cannot live without your smartphone for a single weekend, you are addicted to it. If possible (and try to make it possible), switch off your phone and stay away from it for 48 hours. Do this at least once every year.Featured photo credit: Communication - silhouette of man handle phone via Shutterstock