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Generation Rude

Technomanners for Parents

Your kids learn how to behave -- or not -- from the adults around them. Here, five ways to set a good example.

  1. Silence is golden. Turn your phone off in restaurants, museums, movie theaters, and public bathrooms. If you must be on call -- for example, you're waiting to hear about a job -- use the vibrate feature and take the call in private.
  2. Be discreet. Steer clear of inappropriate conversations, both on cell phones and when e-mailing at work. "See you at 8" or "Please take the roast out of the freezer" are within the bounds of good taste. Arguing with your spouse is not.
  3. Be polite. Don't say anything in a phone message that you would not normally say to someone in person.
  4. Send your regrets. Always use regular mail for condolence cards or letters. And no typing allowed -- take the time to write them by hand.
  5. No multitasking. Don't answer e-mail or check your voice messages and stock portfolio while chatting with your kids or watching their soccer match or school play.