Thanks to the geniuses that brought us social media. Communication has never been so easy. It opens doors to more networking and business opportunities.

At the same time, it allows us to be reunited with loved ones and make new friends from far away. And since social media is accessible in most models of mobile phones, it makes communication even handier.

However, it has also made many addicted to it. In restaurants, you see people sitting across the table from each other, and instead of talking at one another, they’re staring at their mobile phones. This scenario does not only happen in public places. It’s also a common sight in many households. And here is the greater danger looms.

To put it bluntly, using your mobile phone, or any gadget, at the family dining table is rude! Here’s how:

  1. It’s a subtle way of ignoring God’s grace. Shouldn’t you be thankful that you have something to nourish your body? Think of those people displaced by war, violence and natural calamities. They are thrust into situations where they rely only on food rations. Some could only dream of having a morsel. Wouldn’t you consider yourself lucky, then? Besides, food is something to be enjoyed, not just a need to satisfy hunger. Staring at your mobile while dining distracts you. And while you’re distracted, you lose your appetite for food.
  2. It’s a disrespect for the person who brought the food. Parents or head of families strive to bring food for their members. Yes, it’s their obligation. But then, can’t you be kind enough to reciprocate their effort by showing appreciation for what they brought at the table? Wouldn’t it be a relief that you are spared from the obligation of preparing the food for the entire family?
  3. It tears relationships apart. This is the worst thing that could happen to a family. Mealtime is supposed to be family time. A time when family members catch up with each other. There’s even a saying that goes, “A family that eats together, stays together”. Keeping hooked on the mobile devices during mealtime breeds communication gap between family members and loved ones. You lose the essence of face-to-face conversation. As you strive to get connected with someone on the other side of the line, you consequently drive the person sitting next to you farther away. Using your mobile device around others is also contagious. What do I mean? When children see their parents using their mobile devices at the table, it creates a negative domino effect. They imitate what they see. And as everyone now gets hooked to their own devices, the conversation starts to fade. A major factor that causes a dysfunctional family is lack of communication. When the communication gap between parents and children gets wider, chances are the children would turn to their virtual friends. And you may not like the result. You run the risk of creating wayward children.
Take-a-pause-from-devices

Take a pause from devices | Photo from Wall Street International

Plugged-in life

Phone use during mealtime can do a difference. You may not readily notice it, but it does affect your behavior during social interactions. If you are engaged on your mobile device while talking with the person across the table at the same time, you surely would have enjoyed the conversation less. But try putting away your phone and focus on the face-to-face conversation, you’ll be amazed at the pleasure that the interaction brings.

I know that kicking the mobile phone addiction can be challenging. But by making an effort to unplug yourself even just for 15 minutes during meals could make a huge difference. You’ll realize the importance of quality conversation. Parents, you may start it with yourselves, and create a positive domino effect on your children. Don’t allow the little device in your pocket to take control over your family life.