With mobile phones now outnumbering people in Australia, it is important to remember to use your phone in a responsible manner, behave considerately and be aware of situations where using your mobile might annoy others.

Here are a few tips on mobile etiquette:

1. When in doubt, always go out: When possible make and take calls in another room or outside if your call might disturb others. It may be less disturbing to others to use text messaging rather than make a voice call in a public place or on public transport.

2. Switch it to Silent: If you need to keep your phone on so you don't miss any important calls, turn it to silent/vibrate/do not disturb mode. 

3. Always turn off your phone when asked: Cinemas, theatres, concert halls, weddings, funerals, church services, speeches, lectures, doctors/dental surgeries are NOT places where using a mobile is acceptable. Turn your phone off  or put it on silent mode and  remember you can always check your messages afterwards. DO NOT be tempted to contine to text or use social media when in a dark cinema, theatre or concert - as the light from your device is most disturbing to those around you and distracting for performers. And if the venue says photography is not permitted - DO NOT use your phone or tablet to take pictures or video.

4. Keep your conversations private: People’s sense of personal space varies in each situation.  Making a call in a busy pub may be okay, but talking loudly in a confined space like a lift or on a train tends to infringe on others personal space. Be aware of where you are and who you are with and what others are doing before deciding to make or accept a call. In some situations it might be better to send a text message.

5. Speak softly:  Today's smartphones have very sensitive microphones that can pick even the softest voice so there is no need to shout or speak louder than you normally would. If you are having trouble hearing the other caller, check your volume settings.

6. You don’t always have to answer: It’s a natural reflex to answer your phone if it rings, however, if you forget to put your phone on silent mode and it rings at an inappropriate moment, you don't have to accept the call but can send the call to voice mail.

7. Talk to the one you’re with: Politeness dictates that your first priority should be to the person you are with so don't accept a call (unless it's urgent and then just excuse yourself politely)  if you are in the middle of a conversation with someone else. If you are expecting an important call  you can always let the person you’re with know before the call arrives. And if you are in a queue and decide to answer a phone call, step aside rather than keep either the person serving you or other customers  waiting while you take your call.

8. Don’t send inappropriate messages: Messaging is a great way to communicate, but don’t send offensive or threatening text, voice, picture or any other sort of message, because it is a criminal offence to use a mobile phone to menace or harass someone. 

9. Respect others' privacy when using your mobile's camera:  Your mobile device's camera shouldn’t be used anywhere a normal camera would be considered inappropriate, such as in change rooms or toilets. You should ask for permission before you take someone’s picture. Also bear in mind that some venues do not allow the use of cameras and may refuse entry to anyone with one.

10.  Social Media: While it is possible to snap a photo and post it on social media sites such as Facebook immediately using your mobile device, remember to stop and think before you post. Photos and comments posted on social media will be in the public domain forever and can be re-posted and forwarded by others even if you later remove them. It’s always important to respect the privacy of others while using social media. Just as in the real world, trust, honesty and respect are fundamental to relationships within the online community.



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