Smartphone makes us lose interest in eating?

Two researchers from the University of British Columbia, Canada, have warned about a bad trend: smartphone addiction on the table.

"Many people in the restaurant sit opposite each other, instead of looking at each other, they look at their smartphone again," Times quoted Ryan Dwyer, a psychology student.

Using smartphones on the table affects social interaction.

"We're really curious: is it affecting people's social interaction? How are they enjoying their time together with other people?" Dwyer said about the reason they conduct the research.

According to the study, using the phone during meals leads to reduce levels of enjoyment of meals. "Using the technology at the table makes people feel less involved and less engaged in social interaction, resulting in reduced levels of enjoyment," said Elizabeth Dunn, professor of psychology and curator of the study.

"Smart phone makes a difference, but that's a small enough difference that you can easily ignore and not even notice how it is changing your experience in social interactions," she added.


The researchers asked 300 people to dine outside with friends or family, with the aim of studying how the use of the phone affects the experience. However, they didn’t want the people in the study to know that. The researchers told half of the group that they would receive a text-related question at some point during the meal, so they should put the phone on the table. The other half thought they would answer the question on paper at the meal, and were asked to take the phone.

Afterwards, both groups answered questions about their enjoyment for meals, phone use, and dinner experiences in general. The answers in phone users showed a marked reduction in the level of enjoyment. The effect seemed to be longer than the dinner time.

In the second experiment, the researchers sent questionnaires to more than 100 people five times a day for a week. Each time, they were asked about their emotional state and what they had done in the past 15 minutes. The researchers found that if they used the phone before interacting directly with others, they preferred the interaction less than those who didn’t use the phone.


Removing technology addiction could be difficult, even after undertaking this research. Professor Dunn said she still found herself tempted to answer one or two messages at the dinner table.

"But the results emphasize how important it is not to use the phone around friends and family," Dwyer said. "Have a rule that if you go out to dinner with some friends or family members, you should put the phone in silence and do not leave it on the table. This way you can create new habits."

Professor Dunn warned that the phone could "infect". "People tend to use their phones more when people around them are using their phones, because it's like having a domino effect on it. By putting your phone away, you can create a positive domino effect," she advised.

By: Relly Jonas

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