Is it okay to use cell phones at the dinner table?

by Grace

One of my pet peeves is the use of cell phones at the dinner table.  According to a recent Pew Survey I’m in the majority, even among Millenials.


But norms are changing.

I can see the temptation to use cell phones in social situations.  If I’m with a group of friends but not actively participating in the conversation at that moment, I might find it handy to use that time to check the latest scores, news headlines, or emails on my phone.  This happens all the time, especially with young people, many of whom find it perfectly acceptable.  But it’s incredibly annoying when I find myself sitting next to someone who’s playing games or checking Facebook while I’m engaged in conversation with another person at the dinner table.  Maybe I feel snubbed?  Is it too much to ask everyone to listen with rapt attention to every word at the table?  Perhaps.

I might just have to get used to changing norms and attention spans.


Related:  Distracted by digital devices (Cost of College)


6 Responses to “Is it okay to use cell phones at the dinner table?”

  1. It isn’t OK in our house. There have been a few times when I have been out with friends where I need to check my cell phone to see if a kid is trying to reach me. And I have been known to reach for the phone to check email when stuck listening to a really boring speech at a conference dinner. But never in our house.


  2. We have six kids at our house, and the rule of thumb is simple: phones go in the basket at the counter before dinner begins during the weeknight. About a year ago we enforced a “talking-only, no-phones, no-games, no-iPad” policy.


  3. Similar rules at our house, but we do bring out our phones sometimes to settle arguments. That’s fine by me.

    I wish I could apply my house rules whenever I’m out with other people.


  4. The rule in our house is that phones go on the chargers as soon as each person enters the house. They sit all lined up on a counter until the next morning.


  5. “phones go on the chargers as soon as each person enters the house”

    All of us are tend to keep our cell phones on or near us when we’re in the house because we use them more than our landlline. Lots of texting goes on. I use mine as a portable radio all around the house. Actually, we all listen to music from our phones.



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