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Cell Phone Etiquette at Funerals


Funerals serve as a time to gather and recall the deceased’s life. However, there are many factors to consider when it comes to funeral etiquette, such as what to wear, whether or not it is appropriate to bring your children with you or even the manner in which to use your cell phone.

Using your phone during a funeral or memorial service may be seen as an invasion of privacy for the grieving family and is therefore considered inappropriate. Even glancing at your device may give the impression that you are not present and could be construed as disrespectful during such a sensitive time.

Your phone should be kept on silent (not set to vibrate, which can still be audible during quiet moments) and put away for the entirety of the service. If you need to answer a text or phone call, be sure to excuse yourself and exit the venue before responding or answering your phone.

Funerals can often end up feeling like family reunions of sorts where cousins and distant relatives who almost never see each other in person find themselves together and reminiscing. As tempting as it may be, the reconnection is not for a happy occasion, and a funeral is not the time or place to take photos, or selfies for that matter, unless you have the family’s permission to do so. Likewise, skip the social media posts, unless you are asked to post by a family member.

If you want to photograph or record a ceremony, be sure ask the family of the deceased beforehand. Where some families may be open to the idea, others may feel it is not respectful. When you do have permission to use your phone, make sure you are being considerate of others around you.

Unless you have been asked to, or are expected to use your phone during the service, the best-case scenario is for you to either leave your phone in your car or switch it to off.