Do you allow mobile phones at the dinner table?

May 8, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Posted in Daily Life | 8 Comments
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phone table

We’ve slipped into bad habits in our house, and even if our mobile phones aren’t on the table when we start eating, they seem to creep over from the worktop, up the table legs and appear by our plates, buzzing and beeping away.

In reality, we can’t seem to switch off long enough to even eat a meal in peace and quiet.  There’s always something we realise we need to check whilst we’re sitting, or show the other person – just quickly, between mouthfuls.

But when it comes to eating out, or eating with friends, is it acceptable to do that?  It’s bad manners really to do it at home when it’s just the two of us at the table, but because we’re both as bad as each other, we let it go.  I think it’s also because it’s often the only chance to catch up with your partner during a day.  These days, alongside a verbal description of what we’ve been up to, we show each other videos we’ve taken along the way, photos, and also tell each other about people’s Facebook or Twitter updates, having a giggle at their misfortune or trying not to feel envious over exotic holiday check ins.

I heard a great idea discussed on the radio recently for keeping people off their phones whilst eating in a restaurant – on arrival everyone puts their phone in a stack in the centre of the table.  The first person who caves in and checks their phone has to pay for dinner – it would certainly make you try harder, especially if you were eating somewhere pricey.

I’d be interested to know if you have phone at the table rules and incentives for making people switch off.



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  1. We have a no electronics rule at the dinner table and if people eat with us then that rule applies to them too. Dinner is sacred and important for me

    • It’s funny because dinner is really important to me too – we were brought up eating around the table but this bad habit has crept in, maybe we need to impose a ban!

  2. I have to say that even though I am truly addicted to technology we don’t tend to take it to the table. Which if you think about it is quite an achievement as we are, well I AM, never seen without my phone… Or an ipad… or a laptop… 🙂

  3. We eat as a family every night almost without fail and always at the table. I have to say that I imposed a strict no phones at the table rule some time ago and we still stick to it. It’s probably the only hour of the day when one of us (or all of us!) haven’t got their nose in a screen 🙂

    • I think it’s good to have a phone free hour – but I do find myself catching up on loads of notifications straight after we’ve eaten!

    • It’s a really important part of the day, I think we need to make sure we impose the ban!

  4. We are pretty good at going without any phone or tablet at the dinner table. We try to ignore phone calls and Skype calls too, as its supposed to be our family time.

    • Do the kids eat with you too – what time do you have dinner?

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