How to Put the “Smart” in Smartphone

Smartphone Tips

The alarm clock goes off, telling you to wake up for the day. You scan through today’s news headlines and check the weather to see if you need an umbrella or not. After a quick check of your emails and social media notifications, you grab directions to your first appointment of the day and hit the road. All without using a single piece of technology other than your smartphone.

School’s out for the summer, and chances are you will be spending a significant amount of time on your smartphone. After all, nine out of 10 smartphone users are on their phone every single day, according to IBM. In fact, smartphones are being used to replace the television, GPS, online shopping and basic Internet searches.

With the rise in smartphone usage, it’s become more essential than ever to make smart decisions while using your smartphone.

First and foremost: Never use your smartphone while driving.

In 2011, 23 percent of all auto collisions involved distracted drivers who were using their cell phone, and 13 percent of all teens will be involved in an accident while texting and driving, according to a survey conducted by Bridgestone.

To reduce the number of fatalities and accidents caused by distracted drivers and cell phone use, people must be smart about using their smartphones. That’s the message promoted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood echoes this message.

“The Department of Transportation is committed to helping young drivers get the message that texting and driving don’t mix,” LaHood says.

To prevent the temptation of using your smartphone while driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has four alternatives you can use should you feel the need to use your phone while driving:

1. Keep It Out of Sight, Out of Mind.

When you are in the car, put your phone where you can’t reach it or even be tempted to look for it.

2. There’s an App for That.
Find an app in your smartphone marketplace that automatically responds to any missed calls or messages while you are driving. You can always check your messages later.

3. Silence Is Golden.
Put your phone on silent when you are in the car. The less you hear your phone, the less tempted you’ll be to respond while driving.

4. Have a Designated Texter.
If more than one person is in the car, designate a non-driver to respond to your messages.

Beyond smart usage, it’s also important to keep your phone safe and secure. Summer is a great time to update your software, remove apps that aren’t being used regularly, change your passwords and more. BullGuard, an Internet security company, offers five ways to keep your smartphone safe and secure. Password-protect your phone with a PIN or key lock code. Update the software and stay ahead of security threats. Watch your wireless and limit your use of free public Wi-Fi. Use caution with mobile applications, and purchase from reputable application markets. And back up your data and contacts through your email or a mobile application.

–Beverly Kreul