Disconnect at the Diner

In today’s world we have become used to people being attached to their phones. Whether it be while walking, relaxing, watching TV, or even in class. In their defense, there certainly is plenty to do –  play a game, catch up on the news, read new tweets or even a book you downloaded – because they aren’t really even phones anymore but rather small hand-held computers.

But when does it become too much?

How about when you are out to dinner at a restaurant or diner with the family? And how about when it’s not the kids, but the parents who won’t look up from their phones to see the drawing their young child did on the back of the place mat. This is something I actually saw while out to eat recently, and it bothered me.  These people barely looked up at the waitress who was trying to get their order.

What could possibly be so important that you can’t even acknowledge your five-year-old while out to dinner? Is that picture of your cousin’s cousin dog a must-see?  Is it more important than building a relationship with your child?

And that’s just the newer generation of parents. What about the newer generation of kids who are never taught to be quiet or calm in public, but instead are pacified by being handed an iPad or a phone as a bribe to be quiet? When I was a kid we played hangman on the paper mat at a diner or even – imagine this – just talked to each other. Now I see kids crying and causing a commotion until they get the iPad or phone to play Angry Birds or watch a movie.

That’s why I was happy to hear one mom recently tell her young kid that “you can’t always have the iPad everywhere you go. You have to learn to live without it.”

I think that statement goes for more than that particular screaming kid in the mall.

No matter what is happening in the world of your phone there should always be time to talk and communicate with actual human beings. Kids are going to grow up with no social skills because their entire childhood was spent on a screen, and parents who allow that are partly to blame.

Being able to talk to people and function without technology is a skill that will never die out and will always be useful. Which is why being able to disconnect, at least for a few minutes during a shared meal at the diner, is something everyone should be able to do.