The right to bear cell phones

Maggie Curran, Opinion Editor

Let it be known, I’m not a cell phone addict, but I also don’t think I could comfortably go throughout a day without mine. I’m somewhere between “won’t check my phone during a movie in the theater” and “will check my phone during a movie at home with friends.” With that being said, we all lie somewhere different on the phone etiquette spectrum, and some people are far too bent on enforcing their own set of cell phone standards on others.

Almost a decade has passed since smart phones, with their Internet capabilities and endless apps, took over and brought with them a new set of social guidelines: the when and where and how and why to use your phone at various times. And, of course, as with most things in this day and age, people found a way to fight it out. In one corner of the ring, we have the cell phone conservatives. Made up mostly of grandparents and the occasional straight and narrow millennial, this group believes less is more when it comes to using one’s cell phone. No phones at a party, no phones while walking down the street, and certainly no phones at the dinner table. If there is even the slightest chance that your phone will distract or annoy someone around you, they don’t want you to even think about having it out.

Then we have the cell phone freedom fighters. You know the guy that openly and obviously texts his buddies, with his screen on maximum brightness, in the middle of a movie? Yeah, he’s one of them. There are no rules when it comes to a freedom fighter’s right to use his or her phone. Everywhere is fair game.

In any case, no real set of rules exists to dictate what is appropriate and what isn’t when it comes to using your cell phone. There’s no denying that there are certain situations when your phone should be put away, silenced, and probably not even thought about. I’m talking about you, guy playing Clash of Clans during class. However, there are other situations when it’s just better to lighten up on all the cell phone restrictions. Checking Twitter while hanging out with your friends isn’t going to cause any harm. (That is, of course, unless you and your friends happen to be on an airplane.)

It’s a case-by-case issue without a one-size-fits-all solution, and because of that, people’s ideals on either side of the spectrum can end up seeming either rude or demanding. The only way to get past these differences is to accept them. If you think it’s inappropriate to use your phone during dinner, then don’t. If you think walking down the street and staring at your phone could bother other people, by all means wait until you reach your destination to respond to a text. If you think using your cell phone during a movie is disrespectful to the other patrons… you’re totally right.

Like I said, case by case.