Is The Dinner Table No Longer Sacred?

Jourdan Zelaya, Opinions Editor

I want you to think about something. Think about all of your classes. Now think about your classmates within those classes. Now, think about the times when there was no classroom instruction; whether it be the first couple of minutes before the bell rings to start class, or the last couple of minutes before it’s time to go to your next one. How many people are on their phones? Chances are it’s a big chunk of them.

Who can blame them? When you have a device that is, essentially, an endless stream of entertainment, it’s hard not to be so invested. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, I’m just as guilty of doing it as the next person. However, once the bell rings, my phone is in my pocket, for the most part, so I can focus on more important things like math and English. In my head there is a time and place for everything. I understand that I’m human and I’m prone to temptation so I don’t always follow that mental rule, though I always try to.

Despite my shortcomings, when it comes to disciplining myself regarding my phone, there is one place where I cannot have my phone out, no matter what: No phones at the dinner table. I’m sure the rule that prevents me from having my phone out is one that many of your households adheres to as well.

The dinner table has always, more or less, been a “sacred” place when it comes to the house. It’s perhaps the only time of the day where you are able to get all the members of your family in one place so they can talk about their day with each other. With the hustle and bustle of today’s society, we are always on the move. We don’t get the opportunity as much as we used to, for actually sitting down and spending quality time with our families. When phones are at the table, it becomes a distraction to the person using it, which in turn causes them to completely forget about their surroundings and, in this case, their family. At least, that’s what my mother always told me. Which is why, whenever we are given the opportunity to eat as a family, even if it’s not all of us, she makes it a point to either have us put our phones face down or put it in our pockets on silent.

Sometimes it can be hard to manage, but the outcome is worth it because it means that I get to spend quality time with my family and not worry about who’s Snapchatting me or sending me texts.

The other day, I was at Five Guys on Tech Road with my sister. As we were waiting for our food, my sister and I were talking until we noticed a family of five two tables away from us. It was both parents, two older boys and a little girl. They were all eating, but absolutely none of them were looking up from their devices. Both parents were on their phones, the little girl was on her iPad, and one of the boys even went to the extent of having his hood all the way up with over-the-ear headphones on his ears. My sister and I looked at each other in confusion, mainly because of how isolated the family was from each other. Each family is different I suppose, but there’s just something in me that itches whenever I see a family out in public just blatantly ignoring each other because they’re too busy on their phones.

These days, I feel like a moment that is supposed to be dedicated to spending time with your family is no longer a special occasion like it once was, and frankly that shouldn’t be the case. I feel like phones should be off-limits when it comes to the dinner table, even it’s just for as little as fifteen minutes a night; that is, if you’re fortunate enough to eat with your family altogether on a daily basis. Set some time every day for your mom or dad or siblings, and you’ll see how much closer you could potentially get to them.