Children learn proper etiquette with cell phones

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JEFFERSON CITY - Children are gathering inside the governor's mansion to learn proper etiquette Thursday. Courses included table setting, note-card writing, and the newest course, mobile manners.

Manners at the Missouri Governor's Mansion teaches children proper manners in different formal settings. Executive Director of Friends of the Missouri Governor's Mansion Rebecca Gordon said the mobile manners course is an important part of verbal communication.

"It's not polite to pull out your phone while having a conversation," Gordon said. "We've had to incorporate that, which has been interesting and children really take to it."

Gordon said the new course is more challenging than others.

"When we say look up and look around the first thing, especially younger kids do, is they pull out their phone and take pictures or video," Gordon said. "So, we're really talking to them about how to connect with an individual one-on-one."

9-year-old Kendal Anderson said she learned about how cell phone use can be disrespectful at times.

"Don't be rude and talking on the cell phone during dinner because that's kinda rude because all the attention's going to somebody else," Anderson said.

Gordon said the teachers learned just as much from the kids during the mobile manners class. She said it is important to understand how technology is changing so that the courses can continue to evolve.

Gordon said despite the dependence on technology in society, parents still see the importance of proper etiquette in one-on-one settings. She said more than 100 children are participating this year.

Alisa Kigar said she waited until the right time to drive from the Iowa border to send all four of her children.

"It's a great experience for them and they get to see the Governor's Mansion, which makes it even more special," Kigar said.

Kigar said she finds proper manners are dying and the mobile manners course is important for the younger generation.

"Words and messages are sort of like toothpaste, it's really hard to put them back in the tube once it's been squirted out," Kigar said. "To teach the children respect and discipline and responsibility for their words and their actions is really important."

Kigar said she feels her children will have an edge in the future because of the manners they learned through the program. She said she plans on using what the children learned in her home.

The children used their new skills to set the tables and make cards in the dining room where guests were invited for the four-course meal to finish the day. The third and final day of Manners at the Missouri Governor's Mansion is Friday.