Many international airlines now let you power up your pocket-sized device while in the sky, but it’s still illegal in the U.S. While the in-flight phone debate is still up in the air, there are some places where it definitely isn’t a good idea to talk, text or tweet.
1. At the Hospital
The “No Cellphone” sign you see in the waiting room is there for a reason: Radio-frequency energy from cellphones can still interfere with pacemakers and defibrillators. That’s the technical reason, but refraining from talking on your cellphone in the waiting room is also just good manners.
2. On the Train
Work-day commutes are a chore in themselves, so be kind to your fellow passenger. The bus or train is no place for a phone call – no one else needs to hear about your dreaded morning meeting or 6 p.m. dinner plans. However, this is one place where texting and surfing the Web on your phone is okay. Just make sure you don’t block the aisle at the next stop.
3. In the Locker Room
Most gyms have clear rules forbidding cellphones from locker rooms, but they are rarely enforced. After all, when do you ever see a gym employee stationed in the locker room on cellphone patrol? Most cellphones now have cameras, and these rules are in place for your privacy protection. It’s easy to snap a secret picture and even more easy to share it with the world.
4. At Dinner
Your dinner date may say it’s okay to answer that text during the second course, but resist the urge. A 2012 survey asked 100,000 singles to share their biggest first date deal-breakers, and the No. 1 most offensive thing was seeing a date on a cellphone or texting.
5. In the Car
Thirty-nine states have banned texting while driving, and 10 states have outlawed cellphone usage while driving all together. But despite these laws and nationwide PSA campaigns, millions of drivers still pick up their phones while in the car. Up to 25 percent of crashes are the result of distractions, so leave the phone on silent while behind the wheel.
6. In Bed
No one is going to stop you from using your cellphone before nodding off at night, but it’s a habit you should break for the sake of your health. Sleep experts say the light from the screen suppresses melatonin, which tells the brain it’s time to sleep. Additionally, many people don’t silence their phones at night. As a result, 10 percent report waking up a few times a week to the dings of email and text alerts.
7. In the Restroom
When nature calls, that text or tweet can wait. In a recent survey of 1,000 cellphone users, three-fourths admitted to using their devices while on the toilet. With numbers like that, it makes sense that 16 percent of all cellphones have microscopic fecal matter on their surface. Those germs can lead to illness that’s easily transferred to friends and family.
8. At the Checkout
We’ve all been behind the person in line who takes their time unloading their cart-load of groceries while on the phone. Save yourself from the dirty looks and put away your device.
9. In Any Theater
We all see a highly produced commercial reminder to silence our phones before a movie, but don’t forget this rule at other performances. This includes your kid’s end-of-year piano recital or even a standup comedy show. Don’t just hit “ignore” when the phone rings; texting is a no-no because that LED screen can be quite distracting as well.
10. On Vacation
While this isn’t technically a place, this spot on this list is important for two reasons: cost and sanity. If traveling abroad, your talk and data charges quickly add up to a massive bill. As for your mental health, a cellphone vacation may be just what you need to reconnect with your family. A Time magazine survey of 5,000 people revealed that 20 percent can’t go more than 10 minutes without checking their smartphone. When you go on vacation, take a break from your phone, too.