Technology is the number 1 cause for family arguments when sitting around the dinner table. 20 years ago when I was a kid, technology wouldn’t have even made the list but now, being saturated in this tech-rich society, it holds the top spot.
Here’s an example of a typical meal time in the 21st Century: (*he says in a sarcastic tone)
Ok, so maybe that’s exaggerating the point slightly, but you get what we’re talking about here.
Over the last 20 years, I’ve also watched society and life in general, speed up. Perhaps it’s just because I was a kid and time seems to go by so slowly, but having spoken to my parents, I think they’d agree. Life is 100mph nowadays.
This high velocity ‘speed of life’ results in family time being squeezed out, in particular, family meal times. Honestly, when was the last time you sat down with the whole family and had a meal at the table?
Fortunately, my wife and I try our very best to prioritise eating at the table and don’t do too badly at maintaining it. That being said, with an 11-year-old wielding an iPhone, it can make for an interesting time.
The trouble is, tech is everywhere now. Take your dining room, for example, you’ve likely got a desktop in the corner, a laptop on the table, some sort of speakers somewhere (controlled by a tablet), an iPhone in your pocket and probably the noise of the TV overflowing from the next room.
In that environment, eating as a family has more distractions than trying to watch the football with a 2-year-old.
Dolmio has conducted some research into just how much of an issue these distractions really are. The headline obviously being that 67% of dinner table arguments are caused by technology.
Time with the family is sacred and Dolmio recognises this. They recognise it as valuable, essential time that families need which is why they’re campaigning for #techfreetables Part of this campaign is a clever little device they’ve developed that pretty much cuts the internet at the push of a button. Don’t worry. It doesn’t shut down the entire world wide web, but just the devices on that particular network. Check it out:
We at The Dad Network want to support this campaign and so we’ve not only created a short list of our top tips for regaining control of your quality family time at the dinner table, but also hosting a competition for Dolmio, where you could win a gorgeous (& incredibly tasty) Dolmio hamper worth £50.
But before we get to that, here’s our top tips:
- Have a box, pot or basket for all handheld devices to be put in at the table. This could be stored on the table for those siblings who might be tempted to hijack their brother or sisters mobile. Or simply leave it in a different room.
- Turn all screens off that are in the room. If you have a desktop in the corner then make sure the screen is completely blank to reduce any chance of distraction.
- Create some kind of reward system. For example, for every minute they’re sat at the table, they bank a minute of screen time afterwards.
- Set the rules, and stick to them. This may be a culture change and might be a big one for some families, but that time spent altogether as a family is precious and you can’t get it back.
Ok, competition time. It’s completely free to enter, just fill out the form in the widget below.
Good luck and make sure that you create a culture of #techfreetables in your home!