(USA TODAY) -- Good grief! Just when we needed a bit of good news, instead we hear that the FAA is debating whether to let airline passengers use their cell phones during flights.
Hard to think of anyone who would volunteer to sit next to a guy with a loud voice yammering into his cell phone on a cross-country trip.
It reminds me that there's one thing we can all agree on this holiday season: Our collective digital manners could use some work!
If you're a regular reader of this column-or a loyal listener of my national talk radio program-I'm sure you've passed along some of my tips on how to cope with today's digital lifestyle.
I've collected my top ten suggestions for better digital manners for the New Year. Won't you take the time to share them with kids, parents and friends?
1) Be in the moment! When you're with friends or family, be with them. Focus on those around you-not your phone or tablet. Trust me, there will come a time when your memories of those moments will mean a lot to you.
2) Learn how to turn it off. We all know the guy who puts his phone down-only to have it ring and buzz unattended for the next two hours! Make sure you know how to completely silence your phone or tablet.
3) Keep your voice down! Who hasn't been in a restaurant, shop or bus where one Chatty Cathy or Carl dominates the room with a loud cell-phone conversation? If others can hear you, keep it short-and quiet.
4) Keep the sound and light down, too. Remember that those rockin' tunes can bleed from your headphones-and that light from your cell can be seen in the whole movie theater!
5) Snarkiness can backfire. There's a reason it's called social media.On Facebook and Twitter, your friends can stop following you or even block you with a quick click of the mouse. Compliments and constructive criticism work better than carping and insults.
6) Don't bug people on Facebook. No one has to friend you, and no one has to acknowledge your posts or comments. Create your own community, and let others live in theirs.
7) Don't walk and text (or post) at the same time. Sooner or later, you're going to bump into another pedestrian-or walk in front of something bigger than you moving at a high speed.
8) Tweet unto others as you would have them Tweet unto you. Those viral videos on You Tube and the candid pix on Facebook are a hoot, right? But how would you like a photo of your pratfall-or even just you not looking your best-put up on Twitter to be laughed at by millions? There are serious privacy implications in taking pictures of strangers and putting them up for public consumption. The solution? Ask first.
9) Pass your good digital manners along. As you introduce your kids, parents or friends to the Internet, texting and social media, show them how to be polite and productive and fun online right from the start.
10) And finally ... Here's a tip that has resonance both in the online world and also in-what's that called again?-oh yeah: Reality! It's the simplest one of all: Be nice!
Again, pass along these tips to your kids, parents, family and friends-and have a great, productive and safe 2014.