Are you Eating Out With Your Family or Your Phone?
Eating out has always been a social event. Whether for a date or family, it allows communication in a setting away from distractions. Have cell phones now invaded this intimate space? My husband and I recently went out to dinner at one of our local favorite spots and after we were seated and placed our order, I glanced over at the family sitting across from us, waiting for their order. It looked like a father, mother and young teen girl. The parents were next to each other, and both were mesmerized with their phones. The girl was lying on the seat of the booth, with her eyes closed.
This was a distressing scene. These people chose a nice restaurant, and it should have been a nice family evening. Instead it was just phone time, no eye contact or talking with their daughter. If she complains, what will they do? Get her a phone too?
I realize that I am showing my age with this perspective, because cell phones were not a part of daily life when I was raising my family, but TV was, and the experts were advising families to turn off the TV during mealtime, so that the family would speak to each other.
So things are not really that different. The issue is distractions vs interpersonal communication. How we relate to others is an important skill and one that children should be taught. A safe place for them to learn is in the family. Speaking to your children, having conversations where you encourage them to express themselves and form their own opinions will help them become more confident in school and peer groups. Children grow up and are gone, and those years you have them are precious. Turn off your phones and interact with your children!
My perspective gives me the opportunity to compare life with and without cell phones. I can see that it can have an impact on adult relationships as well. Going out to dinner is the chance for some personal time with a significant other. You are spending a large amount of cash, as well as precious time out of you busy day to go out. So turn off you phone for that hour and look at each, speak to each other, and enjoy real companionship.
I realize that cell phones are now a part of our culture and I appreciate the positives that they have added to my life! I think that like anything else, they should be used and not abused. They are a wonderful communication tool, but don’t make the mistake of choosing your phone instead of the real people in your life.