Frazer Blog

Funeral Etiquette: Cell Phone Use at Funerals

by | Nov 21, 2017 | For Families

man smartphone

In today’s digital world, practically everyone owns a cell phone. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that 95% of Americans own a cell phone, 77% of which are smartphones.

Whether people are at dinner or just walking down the street, they’re constantly texting and scrolling through social media. So where exactly do you draw the line for phone use in public places, like funerals?

Another Pew Research Center study found that Americans have strong opinions when it comes to cell phone etiquette. These are a few of the findings:

  • 96% of adults believe cell phone use is not acceptable at church or a worship service.
  • 95% of adults believe cell phone use is not acceptable at places where others are usually quiet.
  • 88% of adults believe cell phone use is not acceptable at a family dinner.

These situations above occur at most funerals, as many families have a church funeral service followed by a meal. Let’s further explore these findings and determine phone use etiquette for funerals.

When NOT to Use Your Cell Phone

In general, you should always limit using your phone at a funeral. It can be a distraction and disrespectful, as your focus should be on honoring and remembering your loved one. It’s also a time to talk with relatives and friends who you haven’t seen in a while.

For example, you should put away your phone while:

  • At the funeral service
  • Talking to funeral guests
  • At a graveside service
  • Eating at the funeral reception
  • At a releasing ceremony

Etiquette for Texting and Making Calls

Sometimes situations arise where you may need to use your phone. For example, if a family emergency occurs or if an event occurs related to the funeral service.

If you must take a call at any point during the funeral, step out for a minute. This is respectful to the other funeral guests who are trying to grieve. Also, make sure your phone is set to silent or turned off. The vibrate setting isn’t enough because it can still be heard and distract those near you.

Etiquette for Taking Photos with Your Phone

When taking photos with your phone, make sure it’s appropriate. For example, it’s probably alright to take photos of photo displays, floral arrangements, and other memorial displays. But if you’re not sure, you should either ask permission from the immediate family or don’t take the photo.

Also, keep the other funeral guests in mind and don’t be too distracting. Be quick and don’t get in the way of others viewing the displays. It may be best to take photos either before or after the visitation period.

If you’re posting anything on social media, make sure it’s acceptable for sharing online. Also, wait to post them until after the funeral instead of during it. That way, your attention is on the funeral and not social media.

When do you think it’s acceptable to use cell phones at a funeral? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


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