Dear Amy: I just got my first cell phone, and I got in trouble for texting at the dinner table. How do you know when it's OK to text?
— Jamie, Fort Worth, Texas
Dear Jamie: Cell phones are great. You can call for help if the car breaks down, and you don't have to wait at home for an important call. However, phones can be noisy and distracting, so it's important to know how to use your phone respectfully. There are some general rules you should follow, called “cell phone etiquette.” For example, you should avoid texting anytime you're having a face-to-face conversation, whether you're hanging out with friends or sitting at the dinner table.
A good way to know whether or not you should text is to ask yourself if you'll disturb other people. Nobody wants hear your phone or see the light from your phone's screen when you're in a movie theater or watching an orchestra performance. For more tips on cell phone etiquette, check out http://cellphones.org/blog/etiquette.
Finally, be sure to learn your school's rules about cell phones. Some schools allow them in the hallway, but it's never a good idea to text during class.
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