Put your phones away to enjoy dinner: UBC study

Researchers find smartphones actually add to the boredom when eating out with friends and family

Smartphones might make people feel more connected, but they likely don’t belong at the dinner table, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

In a study released this week, researchers looking at the effect of smartphones on face-to-face social interactions found that people who used their devices while out for dinner with friends and family enjoyed themselves less than those who did not.

The study’s lead author and psychology PhD student Ryan Dwyer said the results confirm what many already suspected.

“When we use our phones while we are spending time with people we care about— apart from offending them— we enjoy the experience less than we would if we put our devices away,” he said in a news release.

The team watched 300 people go to dinner with friends and family, with some being directed to keep their phones on the table and others to put them away.

The researchers did not tell those being observed they were being monitored for their smartphone use.

The study found that people whose phones were present felt more distracted and didn’t enjoy spending time with their fellow diners. They also said they felt more boredom during meals.

“We had predicted that people would be less bored when they had access to their smartphones, because they could entertain themselves if there was a lull in the conversation,” Dwyer said.

The findings were not only limited to restaurant settings.

In a second study involving more than 100 people, participants were sent a survey to their smartphones five times a day for a week that asked how they had been feeling and what they had been doing for the past 15 minutes.

The researchers saw the same pattern, with people reporting they enjoyed their in-person social interactions less if they had been using their phones.

Elizabeth Dunn, the study’s senior author and professor at UBC’s department of psychology, said the findings add a layer to the ongoing debate over the effects of smartphones on public health.

“An important finding of happiness research is that face-to-face interactions are incredibly important for our day-to-day wellbeing,” said Dunn.

“This study tells us that, if you really need your phone, it’s not going to kill you to use it. But there is a real and detectable benefit from putting your phone away when you’re spending time with friends and family.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Victim trapped in Enderby crash

Two occupants in truck rollover out Enderby-Mabel Lake Road

Suspect sought in suspected car theft

RCMP surrounded car behind Shops at Polson mall Monday afternoon, suspect fled on foot

Police with guns drawn in downtown Kelowna

RCMP close off part of Leon Avenue as they search for a man

Vernon cold case murder suspect bail hearing Tuesday

Paramjit Singh Bogarh will appear in Vernon Law Courts at 10 a.m. June 19

NDP executive steps down in North Okanagan Shuswap

in-house ‘spending scandal’ blamed for Saturday’s resignation decision

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Local firefighters, B.C. Wildfire battling bush blaze east of Oliver

Oliver Fire spokesperson could not give estimate of fire’s size, said 30 local firefighters on scene

Late goal gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia

At the last World Cup in 2014, England couldn’t even win a game

Canadian military police officer pleads not guilty to sex assault

Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, 48, entered his plea today at a court martial proceeding in Halifax

Vernon sani-dump closed this week

Construction closes Vernon station for a few days

Elvis lives again in Penticton

Elvis Festival back this weekend for 17th year

Gallery Odin sees a change of season as snow melts

More than 105 pieces from 22 artists on display for Gallery Odin’s 2018 Summer Exhibition and Sale

Tigers looking to lock up title

Face Flames tonight in Penticton

Cheers erupt as Federal Court judge approves historic gay purge settlement

Gay military veterans said they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality

Most Read