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Mobile Communications Now Acceptable at Holiday Gatherings
[November 21, 2006]

Mobile Communications Now Acceptable at Holiday Gatherings

TMCnet Assistant Editor
It used to be that holiday gatherings were a time to put all else aside, and be with loved ones around the table, chatting and catching up on happenings in each other's lives. When cell phones and other communication methods emerged, it became ill-mannered to answer the phone, or step away from these situations to utilize the communications.

Now, as mobile devices make their way into our everyday lives, the dynamics of mobile communications during the holiday season have changed to make texting, IM and mobile phone calls acceptable, even while attending a gathering.

In the past, ringers were silenced as a form of respect and texting, popular among most youth mobile subscribers, was usually hidden under the table to avoid sideways glances. However, as tradition is bound to change, not only is it now acceptable to use your phone during these gatherings, but putting the phone on speaker to share communications has become common practice.
These are the findings of a 2006 survey conducted by Ispos for T-Mobile (News - Alert). Specific findings of the survey found that thirty-two percent of parents and young adults use instant messages to stay connected with friends during the holidays. Twenty-three percent use text messages, and twenty-two percent use social networking sites.
The survey also uncovered that 67 percent of parents and young adults now agree that it is okay to use their mobile phone during holiday gatherings and 73 percent agree that the mobile phone can improve the holidays by keeping people in touch with those not there in person.
"Wireless communication makes it possible to include more people than ever before at family gatherings. Loved ones who can't be there in person still can experience these special times remotely through a steady stream of mobile calls, picture and text messages, commented Dr. Tracy Wellens, vice president of Customer Insight, T-Mobile USA in a statement.
Now, instead of parents scolding youth for using their mobile devices during gatherings they are instead working together on how to include mobile communications into holiday functions, so no one is left out.
The survey found that most people are using their phones over greeting cards and other prior forms of communication. Sixty-five percent said they use mobile phones to keep in touch while only forty-seven use traditional mail.
In addition, while it may now be ok to use your mobile device during gatherings, there are also rules of etiquette to follow when making these communications. Tips offered by author, Laurie Puhn were outlined in a recent news release and include such suggestions as:
-Do not run away and isolate yourself when a call comes in, instead use speakerphone and incorporate others into the communication.
-There is no need to answer every call, use your voicemail.
-Parents should show interest in who their children are communicating with, and recommend they invite those friends over for gatherings.
-Let those at the gathering know when you are awaiting an important call or communication ahead of time so your abrupt halt during a conversation is expected.
Stefania Viscusi is an established writer and avid reader. To see more of her articles, please visit Stefania Viscusi’s columnist page.

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