Phones…at dinnertime?

Posted by at 6:32PM

Going home for break is a both a wonderful and horrible thing.  You get to have all the things you have missed the most – your family, your dog, the home-cooked meals, etc.- but you also get all the not-so-nice things you completely forgot.  Like washing the dishes (where are the conveyor belts when I need them?) or your parents’ nagging (“You know, while you’re home, not doing anything, you could clean something. Just an idea.” ) And one of the things my mother particularly abhors is when one of her children brings her cell phone to dinner.  At school, I bring my cell phone everywhere.  DUH.  We all do.  After all, you never know when your best friend might run into her ex and desperately need your support via text or what if someone at your table in the dining hall has never seen the Bed Intruder video?  You have to be able to show it to them.  But at home, these excuses simply do not fly.

In the midst of my adjustment to “the at-home rules,”  I happened to stumble upon an article I found particularly relevant, entitled “Should You Google at Dinner?”.  In it, the author, Bruce Feiler, attempts to sort out the problem of using your phone during meal time.  In the end he comes to the conclusion that, while generally, phones should be put away during meal time, occasionally, if used to further conversation/answer a dire question, they are acceptable.  If you are at all curious, I highly encourage you to read the article here.

Now when I am around adults (or at the dinner table at home), this happens to be the tactic I employ.  If whipping out my phone will aid me in a debate, I will not hesitate to employ the power of the internet.  But around my peers, I never am quite sure.  I mean the phone definitely stays in my purse during dates…or meetings for that matter.  But what about when I am just sitting in my room talking to friends or at the table in the dining hall with some people from my dorm?  Should I ignore a text if I get it?  Should I read it but not respond?  Should I read it and only respond if I can do so quickly?  I feel like it is generally understood that carrying a whole text conversation while having a conversation with someone else in person is rude, but when it comes to just one text, I just cannot place the policy.  So TUSB readers, I am asking you.  What do you think?

Is it okay to answer a text during conversation?

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One Response to “Phones…at dinnertime?”

  1. kevin says:

    I’m not a fan of texting during meals or conversations. It kind of suggests that your conversation in real life isn’t interesting enough to maintain your attention.

    The exception I’ll grant is the “planning things.” Often, I’ll be talking with someone and plans for that evening will come up. In that case, I’m totally down for texting to figure out what other people are doing, assuming it’s related to the conversation.

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