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Who Needs Dinner Conversation When You Can Watch TV?


112/365 days - tv dinner

Technology has rapidly changed the way we interact with coworkers, friends and even family. We text or email instead of calling or writing a letter; kids are stuck to their handheld games, adults are stuck to their mobile phones or laptops. But there’s still that good ol’ traditional family time that you get when you all sit down to dinner, right?

Face-to-face conversation about how your day was, checking in with your kids and enjoying a meal free of technological distractions. Right? According to the Wall Street Journal, this won’t last for long with the advent of screens right at the table in some big restaurant chains.

What Does This Entail?

Not only are there already some restaurants offering screens as a way to order your meal (and even pay for it…no human interaction involved!) but now, it looks like electronic screens will be popping up at big name restaurants as a way to engage children while waiting for the meal to arrive.

Although we’ve all been guilty of handing a cell phone or e-reader to kids that would rather read about SEO companies or play a game than sit in silence, isn’t this taking away from the family experience of sharing a meal together? Occupying children with even more electronics than they are already barraged with just doesn’t seem like a worthwhile cause.

Is This The Future Of Dinner?

It appears the trend of technology at dinner is gaining momentum. You can download an app on your mobile phone that allows you to pay for your meal at T.G.I. Friday’s (and even suggests how much to tip) and restaurants such as Chili’s and Applebee’s allow customers to order their meals via tablet-sized screens.

Pretty soon, a lot of restaurants will probably be using this technology. It does seem fairly convenient to not have to wait for your check when your server is busy; but doesn’t it seem sad restaurants are adding more distractions from family time? Some families are so busy throughout the day that sitting down at dinner may be the only chance they have to check in with each other. It would be a shame to lose that sense of tradition.

Family Time, Interrupted

Life is busy these days, and as we look around, we see most everyone with their heads stuck in their electronic devices. It’s refreshing to have an hour a day (at least!) where we can interact with each other without checking e-mail, listening to music or seeing who texted us. Putting electronic screens into more and more restaurants may save the restaurants time when it comes to taking patrons’ orders and checking them out after the meal, but it  damages that little window of family time we enjoy at dinner every day. Eliminating the need or desire for dinnertime conversation is a sure sign that maybe technology has gone a little too far.

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