Classic days of the stereotypical 1950’s American family dinners are long gone. My personal views of smartphone technology where reassessed this past weekend during Easter dinner with my family. Written by Juliet Rocco
Family time: Every year on Easter Sunday, I travel with my parents to visit family and we have a fantastic four-course meal that should be featured on the Food Network.
I was born and raised in a traditional Italian family. My world pretty much revolves around food and spending time with my family, which is full of characters. (Think of the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and you’ll have an idea of what it’s like)
Now, picture 20 loud Italians sitting around a dinner table with enough food to feed a Third World country. Got that? Ok, now picture about half of the people on their smartphones while carrying on a conversation with others at the table. I’m the youngest person at the table, yet my phone is tucked away in my pocket as I try to give everyone my undivided attention.
What on Earth was going on? Eventually I realized what was happening. My family gets together like this once a year, and so sharing information (especially pictures of the new puppy, apartment, etc.) is really important. Thanks to more and more people upgrading to smartphone plans, sharing becomes much faster and easier to do.
The tally: Between eight smartphone devices, (both Android and Apple) I took an approximate tally of what my family ended up sharing with each other over the course of a few hours:
- 12 Photos
- 8 Apps/Games
- 8 Websites
- 5 YouTube videos
- 3 Movie trailers
- 3 Songs
- 3 Email addresses
- 3 Twitter pages
- 2 TV shows
- 2 Books
- 1 Radio station
What does this all mean? I know from personal experience, my phone needs to be as far away from me as possible when I’m at the dinner table at home. My parents want me to be removed from any distractions during ‘family bonding’ time and will threaten to take the phone away if I’m caught texting or checking my email.
On the other hand, I can see how smartphones may actually play a beneficial role in large get-togethers that do not happen as frequently. We simply want to share as much information with each other as possible.
Takeaway: When you’re with a lot of family members and there is plenty of time to talk, it’s ok to take your phone out and share things with them. Important life moments, both big and small, should be shared. Phone etiquette is most important when family dinners are small and more intimate. Keep your phone on silent or in the other room. Chances are, your grandma is going to have to dig around in her purse for her reading glasses to even see what you’re trying to share with her!