1. Style
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Cell Phones Are Personal Items

Cell Phone Etiquette

By

Businesswoman using cell phone in office
Paul Bradbury/Caiaimage/Getty Images

It is true to say that the cell phone has revolutionized the way the world communicates. However, you should be aware that it has also revolutionized the spread of germs and disease. Armed with this information use you may prevent yourself and someone else from spreading harmful bacteria and viral illnesses.

Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor of environmental biology at the University of Arizona, has conducted numerous germ studies in pursuit of greater information on the spread of disease through cell phones. He has determined that cell phones are among the dirtiest surfaces we touch everyday, even dirtier than a toilet seat. Consider The germ counts found during a recent study of cells at offices in major U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, Washington DC, San Francisco and New York. This study showed that the average cell phone contains 25,127 germs per square inch. Compare that to desktops which contained around 20,961 germs per square inch or toilet seats with 49 germs per square inch.

Dr. Gerba, who is often referred to as 'Dr. Germ' has revealed that he once tested 25 mobile phones and found staph bacteria growing on fifty percent of them. The staph bug can cause skin infections and meningitis, among other maladies.

Considering the statistics the wise man or woman should take pains to protect themselves and others from the spread of harmful germs. This is easy to do and simply requires responsible use. In short, you should not borrow another person's cell phone and neither should you allow anyone to use yours. Although we may not think about it much, cell phones are actually quite personal. The cell is in constant contact with your hands, face and mouth which are all highly susceptible to the transmission of germs. In addition, when your cell is not in use, it is generally stored somewhere closed and warm like a pocket or a purse. Because of the warmth and potential moisture, these are both great breeding areas for any germs and bacteria that has found its way to your phone.

In order to stay off the spread of disease here are some everyday tips to follow.


Wash your hands frequently.

It is a great idea to make a habit of periodically washing your hands. The hands touch so much throughout the day and pick up so many germs. Keeping clean hands, washed with hot soapy water, is a great first step to maintaining cell phone health.

Keep your phone clean.

There are products on the market for cleaning your phone, but all you really need is a good old fashioned alcohol wipe. Use one periodically throughout the day to kill germs. This really works.

Regard your phone as a personal item.

Sure,your children and spouse will play on your phone--especially if it is a smartphone/android type. But, besides them you should really keep it to yourself. It may seem difficult to tell someone 'no' if you are asked to use your phone. Keep in mind that your phone is personal. You keep it in your purse or pocket, you put it to your face throughout the day and you carry it into your home. With that in mind, hopefully you can find a way to let the person know that you are not comfortable with him or her using your cell. Perhaps you can even just let them know that this is a predetermined policy you have and that you never allow others to use your cell phone. Think of it as a comb or tooth brush, you would never let another use either of these.

In case of an emergency, be a good neighbor.

This advice to not share your phone is intended to speak to everyday situations and circumstances. In the case of an emergency you may want to consider either dialing for the other person, allowing them to use your phone with headphones or the speaker or just allowing them to use the phone themselves. Remember, if you can keep your phone sanitized this wont be a major deal and you should be perfectly fine. Rise to the occasion and be there when you are needed.

Etiquette rules are never meant to be restrictive, but rather they are encouraged in order to help you as a person live and communicate better within your community. Rules and expectations enable us to better understand what is expected from us and others as we interact inter-personally everyday.

  1. About.com
  2. Style
  3. Etiquette
  4. Technology Etiquette
  5. Cell Phones Are Personal Items

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.