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Study Reveals Why You Should Put Smartphones Away While Dining With Family And Friends

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Smartphones offer a convenient means for people to connect with their loved-ones but it isn't a good idea to use these mobile devices while having dinner with family and friends.

Findings of a new study have revealed that people who used mobile devices while dining enjoyed themselves less than those who put their phones away.

Smartphones Ruining Dinner And Relationships?

Ryan Dwyer, from the University of British Columbia, and colleagues looked at the effects of smartphones on face-to-face social interactions by asking more than 300 people to have dinner with friends and family at a restaurant.

After the meal, the participants were asked several questions, which include how much they enjoyed the experience.

Dwyer and colleagues found that those who kept their phones during meal felt distracted and this lessened their enjoyment spending time with their friends and family.

"In the real-world setting of a café, we found that people enjoyed a meal with their friends less when phones were present than when phones were put away," the researchers wrote in their study.

Dwyer and colleagues also found that those whose phones were present during meal reported feeling slightly bored during the meal, which surprised them.

"We had predicted that people would be less bored when they had access to their smartphones, because they could entertain themselves if there was a lull in the conversation," Dwyer said.

This is not the first study to show the unwanted implications of using phones during dinner.

Presence Of Phone Can Reduce Quality Of In-Person Conversations

A 2014 study has shown that people do not necessarily have to use their mobile phones to divide their attention. Just the presence of a phone can reduce the quality of an in-person conversation, which lowers the amount of empathy shared between friends.

"Both non-verbal and verbal elements of in-person communication are important for a focused and fulfilling conversation," said Shalini Misra, the study researcher, from Virginia Tech.

"In the presence of a mobile device, there is less eye contact. A person is potentially more likely to miss subtle cues, facial expressions, and changes in the tone of their conversation partner's voice when his or her thoughts are directed to other concerns."

Obnoxious

A survey by Pew Research Center also revealed that many people find phone usage during dinner obnoxious. Of those surveyed, 88 percent think it is not okay to use a phone during dinner and 82 percent thinks that using a phone in social settings can hurt conversations.

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