Cellphone Etiquette: 14 Places Not to Use Mobile Phones
Cellphone Etiquette: 14 Places Not to Use Mobile Phones
30 January 2024

Cell Phone Etiquette: 14 No Phone Zones

When we spend too much time (Americans average 7 hrs 5 mins every day) on our cell phones, we use them whenever and wherever, and forget that there may be times and places when we should tuck our devices away. 

Statistics show that 61% of Americans 65 and over have a cellphone. That number goes up to 94% for those between the ages of 50 to 64. While cell phones make things like shopping and connecting with others and essential services easy, too much screen time can make you forget what’s going on around you in real life.

We put together a list of 14 places or situations where cell phone use is prohibited or frowned upon.

Places Where You Should Not Use Your Phone

If you’ve ever visited a movie theater in the U.S., you know before the movie begins, the theater plays a PSA on the big screen about turning your phone off and putting it away during the movie. If you fail to follow the rules and use your phone during the movie, it is possible that theater staff will escort you out.

Any time you’re on an airplane, the flight crew will direct all passengers to turn off their cell phones or put them into airplane mode for the duration of the flight. The reason for doing so is because cell phone signals can interfere with aircraft instruments, which could present a danger to all aboard.

All U.S. states, minus Montana, have made texting and driving illegal, according to GHSA (Governors Highway Safety Association). Many states also have a hands-free law that bans drivers from even holding a cell phone (regardless of whether the driver is using it) while behind the wheel.

Libraries are known as a quiet space for reading and studying. Some libraries prohibit cell phone use, while others allow cell phone use in designated areas. 

If you’re heading into a job interview, turn your phone off ahead of time. This reduces any chance of disturbances during your interview and may help make a good impression on your potential employer … or avoid making a bad impression.

Photographing certain works of art is considered a crime. To avoid getting escorted out and possibly charged for using your phone, it’s best you keep your phone stored while visiting museums.

Turning your phone off before attending a religious ceremony ensures it won’t cause any interruptions. This includes wedding ceremonies of any kind — religious or not.

Unless your position requires you to use your cell phone for work-related tasks, use your cell phone during breaks and when you’re away from your work area (so you don’t disrupt others). 

Using your phone while at a spa could ruin what should be a relaxing experience for others and yourself.

Although the rules about having a phone in the bedroom is up to you, research shows that cell phone usage in the bedroom can interfere with the quantity and quality of sleep (WebMD). Inadequate sleep, over time, may lead to a host of health issues like heart disease, type 2 diabetes. Never leave a cell phone on your bed or under a pillow as they pose a fire or burn risk.

Most hospitals have restrictions on the use of cell phones in their facilities. Cell phones and other mobile devices can interfere with medical equipment. Inquire about phone usage and non-restricted areas before using your phone at a hospital. 

Silence your phone during visitation, and turn it off during the service portion of the memorial.

Some medical offices may be concerned that cell service will interfere with their equipment. Whether there is evidence to support those concerns or not, don’t talk on your cell phone in the waiting area or exam room, and when you’re with the doctor, silence your phone. 

Keep your phone out of sight at a dinner party. Your host invited you because they want your company. Consider suggesting a “phones down” gesture, where everyone silences their phones and places them face down in the middle of the table. That way, it’s fun, and you’re all in on the commitment to be present and not on your phones.

How to Create a No Phone Zone at Home

Besides sleep problems, studies show heavy cell phone usage can cause eye strain, anxiety, weight gain, depression, pain in your neck and shoulders, and conflict in relationships. If you find yourself or a loved one glued to a cell phone, doomscrolling, and experiencing these types of issues, it might be time to create no phone zones in your home and take the break you need. Although you may find it difficult to put your cell phone down for a designated time, even disengaging from the digital world for as little as one hour can lower anxiety and improve your sleeping habits and well-being. Here are five areas you should set up as no phone zones:

  • Bedrooms
  • Bathrooms
  • TV room
  • Dining room
  • Outdoor space

Set rules and expectations

  • First, gather input from everyone in your household about the rules and expectations. Ask each person to create a rule, such as no phones, at the dinner table.
  • Agree upon a set time, such as 8 p.m. every night, when everyone has to put their cell phones down.
  • Pick a consequence for breaking a no phone zone rule.

To encourage everyone to stay present and enjoy being offline, create an enjoyable, relaxing atmosphere. Avoid watching TV. Instead, select things that require participation and focus, like playing board games, cards or working together on puzzles.

Remaining flexible with your no phone zone plan will help ensure everyone participates. Remember, what works for one household may not work for yours. So, be willing to change any rules or expectations if something isn’t working.

If you live alone, you may find it difficult to hold yourself accountable to no phone zone rules. There are still a few things you can do. Start by turning your phone to Do Not Disturb for a few minutes. This will quiet notifications and possibly give you a moment to refocus your energy elsewhere. Increase the length of your Do Not Disturb time as you feel more comfortable away from your cell phone. Exercising, going for a walk, or talking to someone in person can help you stay focused. You can also practice out of sight, out of mind, by leaving your phone in a cabinet or drawer for a while.

Photo 99745211 | Adonis1969 | Dreamstime.com