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Do you tolerate smartphones at the dinner table?

  1. Apr 8, 2012 #1
    So I was at the restaurant last night, and noticed that at every single table with parents that had kids that looked like they were in college/high school/ or even preteen, all of the kids were on their smart phones for almost the entire dinner. The one table looked like there were 2 or 3 families together and every single teen at the table was on their smart phone, which was 8 of them. Quite pathetic. Why do parents let their kids do whatever they want? Technology does not belong at the dinner table. No TV, no computers, no smart phones. How pathetic of a society have we become where people can no longer eat together for just 1 or 2 hours and talk face to face? A lot can be learned about a group of people not only through the food they eat, but also how they eat together.
     
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  3. Apr 8, 2012 #2

    Office_Shredder

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    Do you enjoy feeling morally superior to other people by belittling their eating habits?
     
  4. Apr 8, 2012 #3
    Traditions were formed in different environments by different mindsets.
     
  5. Apr 8, 2012 #4

    Pengwuino

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    Seriously?

    When families get together for dinner, it's almost always because the adults want to get together and talk and what have you. The kids must tag along and adults typically don't make any effort to engage the kids in the conversation (why should they? Kids don't want to talk about adult things and adults don't go to dinners to talk with kids). If I had a kid, I'd rather have them sit and play on their phone than have them staring at the wall or making a racket while I'm trying to talk to my friends.

    If the kids are in their college years, that's a bit silly, but if they aren't independent adults then you can't blame the kids for not wanting to sit around for 3 hours staring at the walls.
     
  6. Apr 8, 2012 #5
    old_man_yells_at_cloud.jpg
     
  7. Apr 8, 2012 #6
    Well, they're with their parents, so I don't blame them too much. And they're kids.
    I have a problem when it's adults who do it when in a social situation with people who are actually right there with them, yet they choose the person on the phone over the people in real life.
     
  8. Apr 8, 2012 #7

    Ryan_m_b

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    I know a middle aged couple who take books with them to restaurants sometimes and sit there and read. They've been married for over 30 years and are completely comfortable being together and not constantly engaging in conversation. On a related note I'm curious as to how you would feel if these children were reading books or drawing pictures rather than playing with smartphones? In my opinion many people object to behaviours simply because of the objects used in said behaviour rather than the behaviour themselves.

    I do think that at occasions like family dinners as the kids get older they should be bought more into the conversation but as others have pointed out young kids have no interest and no input in adult conversations and vice versa. That's not to say that kids should be ignored at all! But at some point the adults will chat to each other and it's ok to leave the kids playing by themselves.
     
  9. Apr 8, 2012 #8

    AlephZero

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    If you want a kid-free restaurant, choose one that doesn't charge them reduced prices or have a "kids food" section on the menu.

    But your OP said "the restaurant" (singular) so maybe you don't have any choice...
     
  10. Apr 8, 2012 #9

    lisab

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    I agree with you, gnw. At least the families were together physically.

    I guess I'm old-fashioned - raising my daughter, we had dinner together nearly every night, at the table - not on the couch in front of the TV. This was a foreign concept to most of her friends who came over for dinner!

    There were no smart phones back then but they would have been forbidden at the table, for sure. We...gasp...actually talked to each other.

    Allowing kids to recede into their own worlds is a mistake, I think. Yes, it's hard to find common ground for conversation with kids -- so work at it, you're an adult, for crying out loud! You have to stretch yourself into their world a bit, and they learn to stretch into the adult world, too.
     
  11. Apr 8, 2012 #10

    BobG

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    I agree, also. You're going out to enjoy some function together where there will actually be some family interaction (as opposed to something like a movie, where there is no real interaction during the movie).

    It's not too much to ask for everyone in the family to be present mentally as well as physically. (As opposed to, say, a classroom? Where surely very few people would argue that the students should be texting their friends, playing games on their phones, etc.)

    I think every family should have a BlendTec blender dedicated solely to dealing with those situations where the kids abuse the luxury of owning any kind of cell phone - let alone a smartphone.
     
  12. Apr 8, 2012 #11
    Give a kid ( or an adult ) a smartphone and soon it becomes an appendage to their body.
     
  13. Apr 8, 2012 #12

    wukunlin

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    someone give me a smartphone and i swear it won't happen
     
  14. Apr 8, 2012 #13

    Evo

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    When my girls were growing up, usually the only time we ate together was at a restaurant.

    We mainly talked when we weren't eating.
     
  15. Apr 8, 2012 #14

    Danger

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    Well, to start with, the kids probably weren't there voluntarily.

    When I was growing up, and not on a school day, my parents and I would usually have our mid-day meal at the dining room table. There was a limited amount of small-talk sometimes, but usually not. (Well, my mother never stopped talking from the day that she learned how until the day that she died, but my father shut off his hearing aid and I early learned to ignore her.) Our supper every night was in our individual seats in the living room with TV trays watching anything from Star Trek to Hockey Night in Canada. Tommy Hunter and Ed Sullivan and Jackie Gleason and Don Messer's Jubilee were absolutes.
    I think that enforced "family time" leads to the phenomenon of dysfunctional families. Members of my father's congregation originally pestered him about why I didn't attend church functions such as socials or suppers or even church itself. He gently pointed out to them that I would cause mayhem, destruction, and more than a modicum of physical harm to those around me if forced into such a situation. He was my hero.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
  16. Apr 8, 2012 #15

    jtbell

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    We set up a card table and folding seats in the "TV room" so we could eat supper while watching the news during the 6-7 PM hour. (Our living room was for entertaining guests; otherwise we always hung out in the TV room.) By the time Gilligan's Island or Star Trek or whatever came on, the table and seats were folded up and stored for the next evening, and we were in our usual spots on the sofa or reclining chair. No TV trays for us!
     
  17. Apr 9, 2012 #16
    Hey, I'm a "young adult" and I absolutely hate the habit of using phones/texting at the tables.

    When family comes over to eat, we usually have things to play (e.g. Settlers of Catan) and things to talk about. Rarely is anyone on the phone.

    I put my phone away when others are around. This makes me cherish the people that are actually in front of me.
     
  18. Apr 9, 2012 #17
    "We expect more from technology and less from each other."

    Sherry Turkle, a clinical psychologist, and professor of the social studies of science and technology at the MIT, feels that those little devices in our pockets are so psychologically powerful that they not only change what we do, but they can also change who we are.

    I agree with her. She’s right. People do want to customize their lives and it does give us control over where we focus our attention. Does anyone disagree with her?

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  19. Apr 9, 2012 #18

    Ryan_m_b

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    Not really but I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. It's also not a novel thing, new technologies have changed our personal behaviour and society's culture for thousands of years.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  20. Apr 9, 2012 #19
    I think that's is suppposed to read, "it's [not] necessarily a bad thing".

    Why do you feel the cell phone is not a novel advancement within the context of technologies that have changed peoples behaviour?

    Oh and yea I'd tolorate them at the table, some communication is critical (as in more important than me), but I would hope the person properly (<-my subjective opinion) weighs what is more important than paying attention to me. lol sounds narcistic doesn't it? I see no other way to cut this, but as hurt egos.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  21. Apr 9, 2012 #20

    Office_Shredder

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    Can you imagine after the printing press? Oh all the kids these days just read books all day instead of getting quality entertainment from this hoop and stick!
     
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