Alright, real talk. When was the last time you put your phone down for an extended period of time without glancing at it? Or wait, when’s the last time you even turned it off?
Okay, if we’re being honest, most of us probably can’t remember the last time our precious cell phone wasn’t glued to our hand. We have the world at our fingertips 24/7 basically anywhere that has wifi or data.
If we have the option to Snapchat or not to Snapchat, the temptation gets the best of us. It’s there, it’s available, and it’s ours.
But have you ever looked up when you’re out with a group of friends and realized that everyone is looking down at their phone? Or is it so commonplace that we don’t even question being in two worlds at once?
Well, Dixie (yes, the company that makes paper cups) is starting to question this startling reality.
On Sunday, June 14, Dixie is starting a movement they call #DarkforDinner to encourage families, friends and loved ones to be more present during dinner.
No, this doesn’t mean turning off the lights and eating in the dark. It’s simply putting your phones and other distracting electronics in a separate room or turning them off to share a meal together. Easy, right?
To launch this movement, Dixie partnered up with Dr. Michele Borba–you probably don’t recognize the name, but many parents might. She’s internationally recognized as a parent and family expert, educator, author and speaker, having written 22 books to prove it.
Dr. Borba teamed up with Dixie because she truly believes eating dinner with your family, while being completely present mentally, is incredibly beneficial.
Dixie also commissioned a national survey to get an idea of what people’s attitudes and behaviors were when they were using electronic devices.
After surveying 1500 adults and 500 teens, they found that the top distraction during dinner was phone calls, then emails and texts.What’s more surprising is that their study also found that 70% of adults are more to blame for being distracted at the dinner table than teens are.
The menu was worldly and served family style, including standout dishes such as Thai lemongrass grilled gulf shrimp with coconut curry, basmati rice and cilantro; grilled watermelon with feta, thai basil, lime and sweet chili; and classic butterscotch pudding with vanilla ice cream and duck fat popcorn.
The best part of the night? There was a black shoebox-like bin on the table with a slit just large enough to slide your phone through. Once the meal started, we timidly gave up our beloveds.
Without anything distracting us from talking with the strangers next to us, we had no option but to start chatting. Awkward small-talk quickly grew into flowing conversations that stopped at nothing short of raunchy, making the room abuzz with laughter, clinking glasses and memories.
So what does this mean for you: the college student with a dorm room and a dining hall? How can you apply #DarkforDinner to your life?
We got the chance to ask Dr. Borba these very questions, and she said it’s easy.
Grab your friends and your favorite table at the caf and throw your phones into the middle of the table. Make a promise to not touch them, or rather make the person who reaches for their phone first swipe for everyone’s meal. Dr. Borba said this can easily be applied to fraternities, sororities, clubs and your average friend group.
Make a pact, keep it, then open yourselves up to the opportunity to get to know the newest member of your group. You’ll be surprised at what you find out and you’ll even avoid these foodstagram struggles.
Let us know how it goes by using the sweet hashtag #DarkforDinner. You won’t regret it.