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Family Health: Cell Phone Etiquette

Be mindful of people around you when the phone rings, beeps, or tweets.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Dinner table etiquette has been around for centuries, but cell phone etiquette - not so much.

Many of us can't resist the urge to answer that call or respond to that text, no matter who we're with - or who we might offend.

But it's important to be mindful of the people around us when the phone rings, beeps, or tweets.

"Have a little consideration for the other person. Part of the problem with being on a cell phone is you get into the reality of the conversation you're having on the phone instead of what's really going on around you and it makes you impolite, it makes you rude, it makes you irritate other people," says Dr. Joe Rock, a psychologist at Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Rock recommends avoiding your cell phone when you're with a group of people - even if they're close friends.

He says this robs us of a chance to decompress - and plays into a sense of urgency that can lead to stress and anxiety.

Also, if someone is speaking during a meeting or a one-on-one conversation - it's usually not a good idea to pick up your phone to look through e-mail - or respond to a text.

"I think texts are worse than calls a lot of times because there's a certain amount of urgency that's implied when you send a text. If you don't respond to a text right away people seem to think you're rude by not doing that. You don't have to do it," he says.

Dr. Rock says pay attention to the situation before you "go for the phone." If you're distracted from the present moment - you'll fail to see how your behavior is impacting other people. Think about it - you might want to become a "cell phone role-model."
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