5 Reasons Why Cell Phone Use During Meals is Not Cool!

Cell phone use during meals denies us a meaningful eating experience, and keeps us AWAY from family and friends.

Updated January 30, 2023
phones during mealtimes

Cell phone use during meals is just as bad as eating while watching television. This is especially true if the mealtime in question is centered around family, friends, and treasured occasions.

Multitasking with technology is equally wrong when dining alone!

Of course, there are moments we want our phones at the dinner table for understandable reasons. This us true when expecting calls that could be the difference between life and death. Sometimes, we simply want to capture unforgettable mealtime moments.

Fortunately, these emergencies and moments come far apart and should be kept that way.

In the meantime, we should have our phones in silent mode – or turned off completely! A mealtime won’t last an hour surely, and the time-off won’t kill us either.

The following arguments explain why cell phone use during meals is not cool

cell phone during meals makes you unhappy

Technology gadgets at the dining table go against all mealtime and cell phone etiquettes, simply because they are distractive, addictive, and keep us away from family and friends!

1. Cell phone use during meals is rude and impolite

We are rude and impolite when we use our cell phones to make calls or swipe through social media platforms while dining with family and friends.

This is particularly true when others have visibly placed their phones aside and focused on their meals!

It is also annoying to those who have labored to prepare the meal, and probably waiting for some form of feedback.

Even worse, it is annoying when the offender is slurping, lip-smacking, licking, chewing loudly, and yapping on the phone!

Our indulgence in technology is not only a problem at home. It is also disrespectful in public restaurants, where other patrons have to shrug off our audible inconveniences.

Our phubbing is also ruining their meal times!

It is pleasant when everyone around the dinner table acknowledges the presence of other family members or friends, and chooses to share one agenda – FOOD.

2. Phubbing at the dinner table denies us a true dining experience

While phones interfere with the eating experience itself, they actually deny us the opportunity to enjoy the food we are eating. In any case, we spend more time swiping away than touching the food.

When the brain is hypnotized by the smartphone screen, it under-utilizes sensory elements such as sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound, which are all closely linked to eating.

And because the body is being blocked from utilizing these important senses, our ability to enjoy the food diminishes.

A well known Roman gourmet called Apicius said

first taste is with the eyes

Research has shown he was right, and besides the sight, according to The Conversation,

– you should see, hear, smell, and touch food as well if you are going to make enough of a meal of a dining experience.

When our sense cannot appreciate the appearance, aroma, touch, and sound of the food, in addition to the good virtues that come with eating, we truly miss out on a true dining experience!

3. Cell phone use during meals is bad for health

It is no secret that we may so easily develop fussy eating habits and other health complications when we juggle mealtimes with technology.

We will actually eat very little, or too much, because the hormones in our bodies are distracted like us. The ability to absorb calories can be messed up by picky eating, and overeating!

According to nutritional experts,

The use of smartphones during meals may possibly influence the number of ingested calories… Eating with distracters increased approximately 15% caloric ingestion… Smartphone use during a meal increased caloric and lipid intake, depending on sex and age in young adults with complete dentition.

Overall, cell phone abuse during mealtimes may lead to medical conditions listed here:

  • Tech neck
  • Obesity and diabetes due to overeating
  • Ulcers, low body weight, and stunted growth due to picky eating
  • Eating disorders such as ARFID
  • Exposure to germs from the touch screen through our hands
  • Exposure of our bodies to cell phone radiation

4. It is a bad example to toddlers & children

The unmetered attention we give to smartphones badly interferes with our roles as parents.

Children observe what we do, learn from us, and begin multitasking with technology while eating. And because they are innocent of what they are doing, they will grow up know technology is an important tool around the dining table.

They will perpetuate the same habits when they grow up, and teach their kids the same without thinking twice.

Here is something to think about: We see little of our children during the day, let alone indulge them face-to-face, because we are busy at work.

Mealtimes are an opportune moment to recognize their presence, let alone finding out if they enjoy the meal placed before them. We can also find out if they are developing eating disorders, and find ways to fix them.

Come to think of it, mealtimes should be the perfect moment for families to be there and relish everyone’s presence.

Just imagine what we can do with children and other family members during mealtimes:

  • Say a prayer together
  • Spot that offending recipe in the food
  • Discuss the next meal
  • Discuss who should prepare that next meal
  • Discuss why technology is not good around the dining table!

Last but not least, be careful not to talk to your children with food in your mouth. It is another bad eating etiquette.

5. Cell phone use during meals denies us TRUE happiness

Here is the thing, indulgence in technology subconsciously affects our well-being with people who matter in our lives. When we are preoccupied with what is on the other side of the smartphone, we focus less on those who are visibly present.

Subsequently, we talk less, laugh less, see less of each other, and we never stop to take a rest!

According to a study by the University of British Columbia, phone use in the wrong places may deny us the enjoyment derived from real-life social interactions. This includes dining table interactions:

Participants were randomly assigned to keep their phones on the table or to put their phones away during the meal. When phones were present (vs. absent), participants felt more distracted, which reduced how much they enjoyed spending time with their friends/family.

There is so much fun out there when we stop and acknowledge our own existence and the existence of people around us.

Time to get our table manners back!

In all honesty, indulgence with our mobile phones will distract us from eating correctly. It is only a reminder of our habits elsewhere, such as public gatherings.

According to Pew research in 2018, cell phone use in gatherings annoyed those close by.

82% of all adults (not just cell owners) say that when people use their cellphones at social gatherings, it at least occasionally hurts the conversation and atmosphere of the gathering. Some 37% say it “frequently” hurts the gathering and another 45% say it “occasionally” hurts the gathering, while only 18% say it “rarely” or “never” hurts the gathering.

We seriously need to declare the dining table a phone-free zone. Then we can have back our lives, family, friends, and colleagues! That is how it has been for centuries, and only becoming a SERIOUS problem in the 21st century.

We can do it.

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