If you’ve seen the recent post about Chick-fil-A’s “family challenge” circulating on Facebook, you know about the 150+ restaurants that allow families to lock up their cellphones for their entire meal in exchange for a free ice cream cone.
This idea is a wonderful motivation tool to promote family time and discussion at the dinner table, but it points out a bigger flaw our society faces.
We have become dependent on cellphones, so much so that a popular fast food chain has taken it upon themselves to try to spark the change.
I thought the idea was odd until I observed my own friends’ behavior when we went out to dinner.
We try to go out once a week to catch up, seeing as each person’s schedule is different.
Almost everyone had their phones out on the table, as though the phone was a dining utensil itself.
Before we had even placed our order, two friends insisted we take group photos together so they could post them on Instagram.
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Throughout the night, they alternated from having a conversation with the others at the table to scrolling through their texts and Facebook notifications.
I had never noticed this before or thought of it as rude, but as the evening went on and I watched each person at the table become glued to their screens, I realized this was the problem Chick-fil-A is trying to address.
Technology is meant to enhance our lives, not replace them. Social media apps are great to make connections and reach out to others, but they should not be the only way we communicate with one another.
The art of conversation is getting replaced with emojis and hashtags, and it won’t be long until we forget how to function without our phones.
I’m not saying delete your apps or go without your cellphone. So much of our lives is stored on our phones, from our calendar to our contacts, that it’s harder to go without it. But small changes, such as logging out of your apps when you’re out with friends, can make a difference.
Focusing on the here and now and the people you’re surrounded by can change your perspective on what’s important in life.
Since I observed that dinner, I’ve made a conscious effort to put my phone away when I talk to others.
It was hard at first, and I was tempted to grab my phone when the people around me scrolled through their news feed at dinner. But it starts with one person, and over the next weeks, I noticed my friends start to put their phones down and listen to the people around them.
So take the challenge.
Put your phone away during dinner and get the ice cream cone. Turn off your apps for an hour and notice the change in the people around you.
Rachel can be reached at campus@ThePlainsman.com
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