Every smartphone owner has probably adopted some bad habits in his or her years of phone ownership. Most of us use our smartphones way too much, and some people even experience an addiction to the internet and to the apps on their phones. That can result not only in the compulsive phone-checking we observe in ourselves and others, but in very real anxiety if a phone is lost or stolen. But checking a smartphone too often or getting too engrossed in your favorite apps isn’t the only bad smartphone habit you should avoid. Read on to check out other bad habits of which many of us are guilty, and see if there’s anything else you need to own up to.
1. Checking your phone in any and every spare moment
We’ve all been annoyed by the friend or relative who’s constantly checking a silent smartphone during dinner, throughout a conversation, or while hanging out at a low-key gathering. It’s pretty well established that that kind of behavior is rude to everyone around you. But you’re also doing yourself a disservice by keeping your eyes glued to your phone. If you’re taking a mid-day walk to stretch your legs, keep your phone in your pocket and take a look around. You’re much more likely to observe something interesting, or think of an ingenious solution to a problem, if you aren’t preoccupied with what your friends are posting on Facebook or what your next move is going to be in your favorite game.
2. Texting while walking or driving
On a related note, please don’t continue tapping out your conversation if you’re moving — whether you’re walking on the sidewalk or driving down the road. It’s been demonstrated countless times that texting is distracting, and distracted driving or walking can have some pretty terrible consequences. If you want to avoid rear-ending somebody or walking into a telephone pole, either wait to respond until you’re stationary again or call the person you’re conversing with instead.
3. Drunk texting (or calling, or Facebooking, or Instagramming)
Just in case you didn’t learn this during college: It’s never, ever a good idea to send that message, post that photo, or upload that video when you’re drunk. No matter how charming you think you are when you’re inebriated, using your smartphone before you sober up is a guaranteed way to end up sending or posting something that you’ll regret later. Wherever you are in your career, it’s important to keep your online image professional and polished, and there’s no quicker way to undermine months or years of effort than posting from the bar or the after party.
4. Constantly relying on your phone’s GPS
If you’re one of the many smartphone owners who uses Google Maps (or Apple Maps) to find your way around your city or new territory, you’re probably guilty of being too reliant on your phone’s GPS. Relying on your mapping app all the time can hurt your navigational abilities, leave you blind to common sense, and prompt you to take inefficient routes. Navigation is still a useful skill, so don’t cede all the responsibility to your smartphone, all the time, if you still want to be able to find your way if your battery dies or your service cuts out.
5. Texting or calling instead of having a conversation in person
Everyone has their own rules about which conversations are appropriate to have via a call, which are OK to tackle via a text, and which discussions (or relationships) can be ended with a simple emoji. But if you have the slightest suspicion that the person you need to talk to would rather have the conversation in person, put the phone down. Tone and intent are easy to misconstrue, even in a video chat, and if you want to be a decent human being, even the people you plan to part ways with deserve a sincere conversation IRL before you break things off for good.
6. Taking unflattering photos and videos of your friends
It’s OK to pose for a humorous photo with friends if everybody’s on board. But don’t take photos and videos of your buddies if you’re just going to hold onto them as potential blackmail material, or just because you know that posting the photo would humiliate them. It’s not a good practice for your friendship, and depending on the resolution you’re shooting in, it probably isn’t a good policy for your phone’s limited storage, either.
7. Sharing ill-advised posts on Facebook
Because most Facebook users access the social network on their smartphones, it’s worth noting that you should avoid posting inappropriate and offensive content on the world’s most popular social network. We have all the details on the kinds of posts you should think twice about, but here’s the gist: Don’t post information that could compromise your security, alienate your friends and colleagues, embarrass your acquaintances, ruin relationships, or cost you your job. Just because you can easily post something from your phone doesn’t make it a good idea to share.
8. Using your phone in a dark movie theater
No one likes the guy who uses his phone constantly during the movie (especially if his screen is set super-bright). You’re distracting everyone around you, you’re annoying all of the people who have the power to kick the back of your seat for the rest of the film, and you’re missing out on what’s happening on the big screen. The small screen can wait, so either turn it off or set it on silent and ignore it for the next two hours.
9. Texting or talking in the bathroom
This is bad enough when you’re in your own home (really, the conversation can wait) but even worse when you’re in a stall at work. The conversation that’s urgent enough that you should take your phone into the restroom is rare, and it’s better to preserve everyone’s privacy (and personal space) by waiting to text or call back until after you’ve exited the restroom.
10. Constantly talking via a Bluetooth headset
Bluetooth headsets can be a great way to keep your hands free while you’re taking an important call. But if you’re walking around with your Bluetooth headset in your ear 24/7, then it’s probably difficult for your friends and colleagues to determine whether you’re talking to them or talking to someone in your ear. If you don’t want people to automatically ignore the first few sentences you say each time you walk into a room, give the Bluetooth headset a break. Another bad habit to avoid, whether you’re talking via a Bluetooth headset or directly into your phone? Talking in a much louder voice than you’d use in a typical conversation. It’s annoying and disruptive, and largely unnecessary thanks to the advanced tech in modern smartphones.
11. Disregarding your surroundings when you’re talking on the phone
It’s always your responsibility to protect your privacy and security. So talking about confidential data or sharing personal information on the phone, without regard for who or what is around you, is a bad habit worth breaking. If you don’t want someone to overhear your conversation, make sure that you’re in a private room or at a comfortable distance from co-workers or strangers.
12. Keeping your ringer on all the time
Everybody gets annoyed with that guy in the office who can’t seem to keep his phone on vibrate or silent mode. No matter how much you love your ringtone, it’s guaranteed that nobody who shares your space appreciates the sound as much as you do. Not only is your ringtone probably pretty annoying, but refusing to set your phone to silent or vibrate also basically guarantees that it will ring at inopportune times, such as in the middle of an important meeting, during a quiet moment at dinner, or when you’re watching your child’s game or performance.
13. Taking tons of photos instead of really paying attention
Especially with the advanced cameras integrated into our smartphones, it’s only natural to want to document what’s going on with a few photos. But there’s a big difference between snapping a couple of photos, then putting your phone away, and keeping your phone in front of your face for minutes at a time, taking dozens of photos. Everyone wants to get a good photo, but if you’re busy taking so many photos that you can’t really see or enjoy what’s going on around you, you’re going overboard.