New trend: No cell phones at the dinner table

New trend: No cell phones at the dinner table

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Recently, restaurants have been offering incentives for people who put their phones away while they eat.

A Southeast Missouri State University associate professor, Dr. Jeremy Heider, said spending time together as a family without distractions is important. He recommends spending times away from electronics a couple times a week.

"We like to believe we can do multiple things at once, and still devote 100 percent attention to the people in our lives in our presence, we just can't," Dr. Heider said.

Dr. Heider said he has an eight-year-old son and spending quality time makes a difference.

"We do encourage him to to break away from those, as much as possible for this type of reason, it really does take something away," he said.

In today's world of smart phones, tablets and wi-fi, it can be a challenge for most families.

"I know first hand, my mom took the PSP out of my hand when I was doing that instead of talking to my father," Southeast Missouri State University student Gregory Johnson said. "So, some families definitely don't like it."

"People are having a harder time communicating face-to-face because they're so used to words on a screen, and that's really not a personal connection with the person, because at the end of the day, it's just words," Southeast Missouri State University student Derek Campbell said.

Many people believe the dinner table is a great place to start to put technology aside, with no distractions.

"Well, it's rude when you're eating you're supposed to be engaged and having eye contact it's kind of a moment you gather around it's supposed to be with your family and stuff and it's really intimate you know you got to be focused on what's happening because that's your time together."

Dr. Heider said you don't even have to be on your cell phone to ruin a conversation.

"So, you just don't care much about the person you're speaking to, or having a conversation with, if there is a smart phone is present," Dr. Heider said. "Just it's mere presence was enough, the person didn't even have to be using the smart phone, it could have just been present in their hand for example, and that was often enough to decrease the empathy and the overall quality of the conversation."

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