Special Report: Where is our 'Cell phone etiquette?'
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
Cell phones- they've become the first thing we grab when we wake up in the morning and the last thing we look at before we go to bed.
But is our dependency on these electronic devices interfering with our manners? Now many businesses and restaurants are doing what they can to enforce cell phone etiquette.
How often do you use your cell phone? "24/7, wake up, text, go to sleep texting," said a group of Darton College students.
It's a sight seen on college campuses across the country- a table full of students with their heads buried in their phones.
And when it comes to cell phone etiquette, these students don't seem to mind if their buddies take calls or check facebook. "I got 45 followers on Instagram," said one student.
But what happens to that behavior, when they leave campus? "Kids my age, as we're growing up we should think about it, because it's good sometimes to have cell phone etiquette around people and around businesses, because nobody wants to be on the phone and be all loud," said Marcus Ard, a Darton College student.
Cell phones are everywhere. The owner of the Cookie Shoppe in downtown Albany got so tired of people talking on the phone at her lunch counter that she posted this sign, which says "Please do not use cell phones while placing or paying for an order."
We stopped in during their lunchtime rush, and within five minutes, saw the first cell phone violator. Loyetta Weston says while she didn't obey the sign, she thinks it's necessary.
"It was an important business call so it was best for me to step out of line and let the next person go ahead and order their food because I wasn't ready yet. It's actually kind of rude to be on the cell phone while you're trying to place an order, because you're actually holding up the line," said Weston.
Amber Bailey, a deputy clerk at the Lee County tag office sees it all the time.
"People come in here on their cell phones and when you have questions to ask them, it's kind of in the way when they're on the phone and you have to wait. Other people have to wait. It's just an inconvenience," said Bailey.
A sign, asking customers to turn their cell phones off is posted outside, but she says some simply don't care.
"Sometimes when people come in and they're on the phone we won't even recognize them until they get off the phone because it's not fair to the other customers that come in that aren't on the phone," said Bailey.
So if you're out in public and get an e-mail or a phone call- when should you answer?
"Outside when you're not in a professional business. Maybe if you're in your car parked somewhere, obviously not driving. And just pretty much anywhere where you won't be interrupting anybody from taking care of their daily tasks," said William Leveston, an Albany resident.
While most can agree that's the best practice, cell phone etiquette is a challenge for a society that's becoming more dependent on these electronic devices.
Cell phone etiquette is even stretching to high schools. Kevin Dowling, the principal at Lee County High School, says they are looking at incorporating cell phones in lesson plans.
Dowling says nearly every student has some sort of smart-phone, which could be a useful tool in the classroom.
"We're entering an age where we need to be utilizing these electronic devices as tools, rather than look at them as just some frivolous plaything, because they can be used as tools. And again, you talk about etiquette, how do we correctly use them as tools? And that's something we're heavily looking into," said Dowling.
And this change could also prompt school officials to offer some sort of cell phone etiquette class. "I think there's a good reason to maybe look into that sort of thing. Now, should it happen next year and we need to make a class? I don't know, but I think it is worth looking into," said Dowling.