Dealing with digital distraction

Smart phone use during social meals, has been shown to reduce enjoyment and leaves diners feeling distracted.

Dealing with digital distraction
digital distraction

Main titles

“People who were allowed to use their phones during dinner had more trouble staying present in the moment. Decades of research on happiness tell us that engaging positively with others is critical for our well-being. Modern technology may be wonderful, but it can easily sidetrack us and take away from the special moments we have with friends and family in person.” - Ryan Dwyer, MA, of the University of British Columbia.

  • Participants in a study were placed in two categories and were told to either have their smart phones handy, or placed on silent within a container while dining.
  • Some variables examined after the meal were social connectedness, enjoyment and distraction.
  • Even moderate smart phone use, led to more people experiencing distraction during face to face interactions.
  • Overall enjoyment and interest was also negatively correlated with phone use.

"The survey findings were especially notable because of the negative effects of phone use among university students, who are commonly known as digital natives. We assumed that this generation would be more adept at multi-tasking between using their phones and interacting with others, but we found out even moderate levels of phone use undermined the benefits of engaging with others.” - Elizabeth Dunn, PhD, of the University of British Columbia. 

Study: University of British Columbia