Texting During Program

Updated on March 23, 2011
J.J. asks from Milwaukee, WI
20 answers

Went to a school function and couldn't believe all the parents and children texting while the principal and teachers were talking to us. Isn't this very rude and disrespectful? I was so embarrassed for them. The lady sitting next to me was playing with her phone the entire time. What is this teaching our children? I think they should have told everyone to turn their cell phones off although some of us had other children at home and have to keep them on for emergencies. I was sitting in the front and could still see it in the rows all around me. The mom heard me say I was shutting my phone off and said I will too but then was texting. If you're bored, fine but show some respect. All the kids that were passing their phones around weren't taking notes and the mom was on face book. Like I said, nothing important. Leaving the house used to be relaxing before I had a cell phone. At home if I don't answer the phone they start calling my cell and both phones are ringing. If I'm not home leave a message unless it is important because if I'm out I'm in public shopping or the Dr or something I don't want to be rude and talk. I hate when I have to wait for people to move their carts and bodies out of the way in the store because they are on the phone and not being considerate of other shoppers!

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answers from Los Angeles on

I think it's rude, too. Whatever happened to people just quietly "zoning out?" My MIL went to a play the other day and commented that in the very dark audience, you could see the glow of people using their cell phones. She said it was really distracting from the play.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

Yay for rants.

It's the society we now live in. They have them on in the theater even though there is several reminders not to... life isn't going to change. It has changed I guess.

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answers from Austin on

Completely rude and everybody has some excuse.

The Teacher, Principals and children deserve the respect of your attention.

If you are so important??? There is such an emergency you are expecting??? I cannot think of an occupation, maybe a brain surgeon on call? I do not know why you cannot turn off your phone. Or do not sit inside the venue, but stand by the door and excuse yourself from the venue.

It IS distracting to others around you.. It really is.. It makes us think you do not respect and you must what is going on and your life is more important than the rest of us.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

This is so rude! I was doing a professional development activity with a middle school faculty the other day and actually stopped the activity and "waited" for a group of teachers to realize that they had been chatting and texting for 15 minutes. When they didn't realize it, I got their attention and asked them to "pay attention!" These are the same teachers who would have been completely annoyed by parents texting and talking during their open house.

In general, people have poor phone etiquette and I think it's a real problem. Just my opinion here, but...
1. If we are in the middle of a conversation or something, don't answer your phone unless it's an emergency
2. If you are in line at a store, please don't talk on your phone to "pass time"... I don't want to hear your end of the conversation and the cashier deserves your attention for the 5 minutes you are paying for your items
3. Same if you are on the train, bus, whatever... find a quiet place to talk. If it's too loud where you are, go somewhere else- please don't shout!
4. If you are in a restaurant, your phone should be on vibrate- don't answer it during the meal (unless it's the babysitter or you are doctor and need to go deliver a child or conduct surgery)
5. BIGGEST issue... if you are with your kids and/or spouse, please give them your attention. No texting at the playground while your kids play, no texting during dinner with your spouse, no texting/talking at a birthday party.

There are some legit emergencies, but honestly... very few things are so important that you can't wait an hour to call someone!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Yes, they should be told to turn off their phones or to put them on vibrate only. People who text during a program are just bored and don't want to hear what's being said, but they want "credit" for showing up.

It's teaching children that it's better to have thumb-to-thumb contact than face-to-face. It's teaching them that they don't have to focus on anything or give anyone any respect. Being constantly distracted and involved in several activities at once means that neither activity is getting the attention it deserves.

Next time, get their early and sit up front so you can't see most of this nonsense. And ask the program coordinators to tell people to shut off their phones/put them away - that it's distracting to other attendees.

It's kind of like people attending their kids' violin concerts and then talking through the whole thing, or talking through other kids' acts and only watching their own child. No manners.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

totally withyou on this....people that text during anything are RUDE!!!!!!!!! And they really need to get over themselves. Seriously-texting will be looked at in the future as the beginning of the end of our civilization as we know it. We have stopped communicating with one another in person. Sad.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I think its very sad that people can't or won't turn off their phones long enough to give someone their undivided attention for an hour or so out of their day. Do we really think we're all SO very important that we can't be "unconnected" for even a short while? I think it's pretty pompous and rude, and becoming so pervasive it's practically an epidemic. Is this really the kind of behavior we want to model for our children?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I really don't notice what other people are doing when I'm paying attention to a speaker. And I don't care either. If they miss something pertinent, that's their problem.

Oh, and add me to the list of people that type notes on my Android phone. My calendar is on there as well - so I might have to update it when important dates come up.

Sorry it disturbs you.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I find it very rude when people are using their phone when they should be doing something else. It is possible some people at that event were taking notes, but I think it is more likely that the larger amount of those people were doing something else. Not that long ago no one had cell phones and made it through meetings just fine. Even if you have a sitter at home, either put your cell phone on vibrate (then LEAVE the room if you must take a call) or turn your phone off and let the sitter know where you are. That is how it used to be done - you would give the sitter the phone number of the place you would be at and they could call you there - and ONLY did in case of emergency. I think it is great that, due to technology, some parents can now participate in school functions, when in the past it would have been difficult. BUT, most of those parents with cell phones on and using them do not have jobs with situations that cannot wait until the program is over. I find it rude if I am out with someone and they are texting instead of having a conversation with the people they are with. There really isn't much that cannot wait until you are home. Not too long ago I was watching Dateline - or a similar show - and they were asking children about their parents phone/computer usage. The kids all felt like they were less important than their parents phones and computers. That is sad.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Very rude. I have co-workers that do this during meetings also. Gets my blood boiling.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

COMPLETELY rude! All speakers and programs should start with the admonishment to PLEASE NOT TEXT OR USE YOUR PHONES! Until a few years ago, we didn't have this capability, and it was okay. If you can't turn it off for an hour or two -then don't show up. Your messages will still be waiting on you when you turn the thing back on. Tell your bosses and anyone else that you will not be available from ______ to _________. This is perfectly acceptable -it happens every time you go to the doctor's office or take a shower (or at least it should). The world will not end if you don't see or respond to messages the minute you get them. If you're in an occupation that serves emergencies, and you're on call, then put your phone in your pocket on vibrate and sit at the back of the room. IF it vibrates, go out in the hall and check it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I see it as extremely rude. And it's a sad sign of the times. Very few people seem to value being present in the moment, with our real life company, place and time anymore.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I think it is nice to remind people to put phones on silent. In terms of texting. I use my smart phone to type notes at meetings and then email them to myself, so depending on content of the meeting, not sure if you can make a blanket assumption that all were texting or interacting with social media.
That said, I always make sure I make a lot of eye contact to speaker when taking electronic notes because I don't want them to think I am emailing or doing something other than focusing on their presentation:)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My husband works a very demanding job that requires him to be on call. He makes time to go to school functions, because they are important to him, but sometimes the reality is that in order for him to attend he might have to put out a fire via text or email. He is discreet when he does it, and if he has to take a call he leaves the room. The wonder of technology allows many more parents to participate now than in the past. In a perfect world people wouldn't text/email during presentations; but I would much rather have people be able to attend because they now have the ability to handle work/personal emergencies on their phones than not have them attend at all.

ETA - I'm specifically talking about school functions that happen during the day, not theaters or meetings - in those scenarios of course you should not have your phone out.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

I think it is rude, too, but I admit to doing it! If you wouldn't sit there having a conversation it's probably rude to be texting a conversation too.

You've made me think . . . it's not a good lesson for our kids.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

People can be VERY rude during children's programs and sometimes they can be hard to ignore.

Once we had a family ahead of us that recorded their child's portion and then proceeded to play back, with sound, and talk loudly through the next section. When people asked them to be quiet, they got snotty. Another time, in 5th grade, there was a parents' coffee meeting with the staff re: middle school and in a small room, I realized that the guy next to me was having a conversation on his bluetooth instead of listening to the staff. I think it's all a part of general disrespect for others in public. Even when teachers tell people to turn off their ringers, people don't comply. If I have a child at home with the sitter, I leave my phone on vibrate.

My DH is always "on call", too. If he has to take a work call, he quietly slips out and/or notifies the staff that from 10-11AM on Tuesday, he is offline. Every now and then he can "take a meeting" for his kids.

I can see typing a quick note on your smart phone, but there are people who obviously play games (sometimes with sound) and it drives me crazy. Same with the kid who plays DS while other kids are performing. My stepdaughter has reported seeing the lights from phones during a theatre show when the lights are low...and don't get me started on movie theaters.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Christy makes a good point - you have no idea what these people were doing on their phone. I, too, take notes via my work-issued blackberry and email them to myself. Or, if I am someplace and my boss emails and demands an answer, I am answering. If hubby texts asking about the kids, I have to answer....on and on and on....However, I never have my phone on to the point it can be heard. Always on silent. And I wouldn't do it through an entire program (unless I was taking notes).

But if I do these things, I make sure to pay attention to our speaker, and make sure the speaker is aware I am paying attention by making eye contact and asking pertinent questions. I think us moms are the queens of multi-tasking. It just takes using common sense which, unfortunately, many people lack.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I don't have a smart phone, I just can't see why I need to be able to be on the internet when I am out socially. If it's a real emergency someone can call me, I rarely ever turn off my phone. I know the games can be addictive, but really do people really have to be texting on their phone or playing a game while at a school or social event? It's rude, you are trying to listen to a program and and someone's phone is beeping all the time. Or someone comes to visit and spends most of their time head down looking at their phone. It's no better than taking a book or newspaper and reading. If they would rather be texting or playing a game, stay home.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

If you're in a darkened venue and your device stays lit up, yes it's distracting to those around you and therefore rude.
If you're trying to listen to a speaker or a performer and the device makes noise, yes it's distracting to those around you and therfore rude.

On the other hand, I have sat through interminable programs in brightly lit school gyms for the sake of seeing my kid walk up to the front of the room and be handed a certificate, and I have brought handheld electronics to keep me awake until it was her turn. But I either set them on mute or plugged in earbuds.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Yes, it is rude, and I apologize for doing it.
I don't do it for fun or vain things, everytime I have done it is only if is something important, like my husband worried out because he is out of town, I forgot to tell him we were going to be out for a couple hours and he keeps calling and thinking something bad happen.
Or I left my daughter with the baby outside the room and she kept trying to get my attention because the toddler just pooh.
Or my husband needs to tell me his fly got earlier.
Sometimes I walk out to text but sometimes I think I would cause more trouble by getting up.
I think a good idea is to sit on the last row and at the end.

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