Don’t put your cell phones on the table!

by | Nov 20, 2015

What do you think about people putting their cell phones on the table?

cell phone on table

Much has been written about cell phone addiction, but there is one area where women can really put their feet down is cell phone use at the dinner table. As I am writing this I realise that I may be accused of stereotyping. It should be both men and women of course, but I actually believe that women have a stronger influence in the home.

They shouldn't do it themselves and they should make it a family rule not to allow cell phones at any meal.

I was recently at a dinner party and I counted 6 cell phones on the table. The host, male, put his iphone on the table where it proceeded to vibrate and ping throughout the meal. He eventually took a call without leaving the table.

[Tweet "It was a no content, drivel call and could easily have waited."] The rest of us sat feeling uncomfortable while he chatted away about nothing.

Educating our kids

His kids (3) also periodically checked their phones and sent texts during the meal with no input from either parent. Mom was on her phone in the kitchen visible from the dining table. Needless to say my own kids whined like crazy on the way home, about their lack of cell phone privileges at dinner.

A guest put her cell phone on the table ostensibly in case the baby sitter phoned.  Really? A few seconds to pull it out of her purse would have made a difference?

The last phone was another guest who placed his smart phone next to his side plate with the precision of a brain surgeon. It gave me indigestion.

What we are doing is failing to educate our kids on cell phone etiquette, but also how to have a conversation.

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It's too much!

Research shows that as the number of Americans owning smart phones has increased, so has the random and inconsiderate usage. 33% use them on dinner dates. 9% of Americans pick their cell phones up during sex. How they do that, is both fascinating and absurd.

Is it an American thing? Does this happen in Europe or elsewhere where meal times we are told in the US are more sacrosanct?

So with more and more being written about human disengagement, women can be pro-active about setting etiquette guidelines for cell phones on the table.

Here are 3 basic rules:

  1. Don't do it yourself
  2. Insist that your partner doesn't do it. If he doesn't like that idea - ask him to set it to vibrate in his pocket. If he is intransigent, think about finding a replacement. A partner, not a phone.
  3. Make dinner (and sit down meals) a no cell phone time and zone for your kids.

That means you can talk to each other without interruption. I wonder if that is a scary thought for many.

Joelle is a Product Marketing Manager with a major household brand, based in New York 

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