Who is more likely to check their phone during dinner? Mom or dad?

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

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I asked my daughters what dinner time meant to them.

Their answer, while predictable, was a little jarring. “It’s a time to eat food and watch television.”

That was how they saw it. And the reasons they see dinner as this is because we often allow it. And we allow it because them watching television gives us more time to browse our phones as well. So I see dinner time this way too.

It wasn’t this way for me growing up. One, we didn’t have cell phones back then. We only dreamed of owning the Zack Morris handheld device (and also his cool hair) and showing off as he held the brick-sized grey phone to our ears pretending to talk to someone important. And two, we always sat together, away from the television. Growing up, it was the exception rather than the rule that we’d spend dinner time apart.

To be honest, I rarely feel guilty about the amount of times I check my phone on any given day. I find that we benefit more from what it allows us to do than we suffer from device usage.

But, it is also obvious at times like this, that we use them too much.

You hardly notice it at first. Maybe you spot a notification on your phone and convince yourself it is an email that needs immediate attention. Then you’re picking it up to get a quick answer to a question your kid asked. And you’re looking ahead to your schedule for tomorrow or checking a sports score for a hockey game you have been waiting for. Then suddenly your kids see the norm for dinner time as a time to stare at screens instead of a time to talk about the day. In our case at least, that’s our fault.

So, we’re going to do something about it, even if our commitment is small and seemingly easy to meet.

Evite® and Common Sense Media asked me if I would be interested in taking part in their Device Free Dinner campaign which asks people to take the pledge to #BeThere to spend some device-free time together during meals. Because our whole family has identified this as an issue, we’re going to take them up on it.

So our commitment as part of this campaign will be to spend one dinner every week free of devices. Just talking. And eating. And learning how our days went.

We’re going to make it device-free preparation as well. Me and the kids will make our weekly meal together, set the table together, wash the dishes together, and most importantly, chat with one another as we devour it.

We’ll share the recipe we’re making in advance in case you want to follow along with us. Be warned though, I’m going to be pretty open to dinner ideas if they suggest them. So we may eat carrot cake for dinner. Or cupcake salad or something.

You can hold your own device-free dinner however you’d like. Invite friends or invite family or invite friends who are family. Have a movie night or have a potluck. If there’s a style of party you want to throw, there’s an Evite® invitation for it.

Device Free Dinner Evite invitation

And because my kids like making things interesting, they’ve added a bet to it. If I pick up my device first, I buy the family candy. If mom picks up the phone first, she buys the family candy. The girls don’t have to do anything apparently other than receive candy.

So, that’s what we’re doing, and I’m inviting you to do the same with me. Maybe you already have these device-free dinners all the time (I’m sure there must be some people who manage their time better than I do) but maybe you’d still like to get better. Maybe you want to talk more or maybe you want to make dinner together more often. So join in and take the #DeviceFreeDinner pledge with me. As a bonus, you can enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win a $200 OpenTable gift card for your own device-free dinner and learn more about Common Sense.

No matter what, I’m excited to try this out. I hope I’m better at it than I expect I will be. The competition with Andrea ought to help.

I am an Evite® influencer and this is a post sponsored by Evite®. All opinions and experiences are my own. For further information, please visit our disclosures, page.

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