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Smartphones And Mealtime: Turn Device-Avoidance Into A Game

One way to avoid checking your phone at mealtime? Stack 'em up in the middle of the table.
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One way to avoid checking your phone at mealtime? Stack 'em up in the middle of the table.

We are having a running conversation about what's acceptable and what isn't when it comes to checking our smartphones during various situations. My original question had to do with mealtime, in which previously it was considered rude to check your phone during dinner. It appears attitudes are changing around that, but some of you, like me, still prize those quiet moments of reflection without a device to turn to. Or just hanging out with another human, unmediated by a shiny object.

Your responses are still coming in, and you can share your thoughts on this Google form. But here's one suggestion, from NPR All Tech reader Kathleen (no last name given):

"When I get together with friends, we pile all the phones in the center of the table and then make it [a] competition to see who can not grab their phone the longest. This really helps us appreciate the moments more."

If you want to challenge yourself to be more fully present at mealtime, you could always make it a game.

Update at 4:15pm ET: An addendum to the game, from our friend on Twitter:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Elise Hu is a host-at-large based at NPR West in Culver City, Calif. Previously, she explored the future with her video series, Future You with Elise Hu, and served as the founding bureau chief and International Correspondent for NPR's Seoul office. She was based in Seoul for nearly four years, responsible for the network's coverage of both Koreas and Japan, and filed from a dozen countries across Asia.
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