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Special report: Do's, don'ts of cell phone etiquette

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Using a smart phone doesn't guarantee users will always exercise intelligent behavior. Whether it's crude, rude, or overly personal, many people have let common sense etiquette fall to the wayside. (WPVI)

Using a smart phone doesn't guarantee users will always exercise intelligent behavior. Whether it's crude, rude, or overly personal, many people have let common sense etiquette fall to the wayside.

"I think we've become a narcissistic society, it's all about me," said Gail Madison, the director of the Madison School of Etiquette and Protocol.

Madison, an etiquette expert, is telling it like it is and says it is not all about you.

"People used to open their hearts, now they open their phones," said Madison.

Madison contends our technology obsession is interfering with conversation and replacing real relationships with virtual ones.

It took her only minutes at a recent networking event to tell one woman she was committing a big cell phone no-no.

"I see we have a fourth person at this table, and it's not me," Madison explained to the three women sitting at the table. "Never, never, never," she admonished. "Today a cell phone is seen as another person."

While the smart phone may act as another person in the room, some are so engrossed in technology that they are unaware anyone else is around them.

Founder of the American Academy of Etiquette Lisa Richey says be aware of who is around you and the language you are using and subject matter being discussed.

And when in a restaurant ordering, there's no excuse to take a call, answer a text or post on social media.

"Really? Can't it wait until you get to your car?" said Richey.

We've all been there.

Even New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was recently asked to find another seat when he made the mistake of talking too loudly on his cell in the quiet car of the train.

Which is another don't.

If an area is designated quiet, assume even your softest voice is too loud.

"We are seeing the lack of empathy. We are seeing that they just don't understand how a certain action might hurt someone's feelings," said Richey.

Madison says be an example for your children. Like business meetings, the phones should be out of sight during family meals.

"Everyone is on a different device, no one is talking. That's terrible. We spend less than 10 minutes a day talking to our children," said Madison.

This topic has created a lot of conversation even if it's a virtual one on social media outlets. Head over to the 6abc Facebook page and reporter Erin O'Hearn's Facebook page to continue the discussion, but only when it's appropriate.

Online:

Madison School of Etiquette & Protocol

The American Academy of Etiquette

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