Commentary

Turkey, Smartphones Don't Mix

If you have ever wanted to reach across the table, grab a distracted dining companion’s mobile device, and drop it in a glass of iced tea, then you will probably sympathize with the 64% of U.S. parents who say they would like to ban digital devices during holiday meals like Thanksgiving dinner.

That number comes from a survey of 1,507 American adults conducted by Harris Interactive and sponsored by insurance company Foresters as part of the latter’s “Tech Timeout” challenge. According to the same survey, 61% of respondents believe the overuse of technology has a negative impact on family life, and 77% of parents believe their family would benefit from taking a one-hour break from technology every day.

The Harris survey for Foresters also found that 56% of respondents find other people’s use of mobile devices during family mealtimes annoying. And 47% of parents said they would like to ban technology during family holidays entirely (not just during meals). Why, you can almost hear a nation of tween and teen voices rising in a chorus of anguish: “But DAaaa-aaaaADD!...”

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The only problem with this scenario, of course, is that without their mobile devices people will be forced, once again, to actually look at their hideous family members and -- gasp -- even talk to them. This is where liberal amounts of wine or spirits may come in handy. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an inverse correlation between accessibility of mobile devices and alcohol consumption during family holiday dinners.

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