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Cell phones at the table are now a way of life; deal with it.

Agree. There are some cultural changes that people are never going to overcome. This is one of them. Just let it happen and move on.

Disagree. If everyone just starts letting it happen, it WILL happen. Having a meal with someone is one of the last sacred places to have a meaningful human connection. Having a phone disrupt that is a real shame.

Yeah meals are a great place to share a connection, but that's not being destroyed by five or ten percent of the total time being dedicated to checking a phone.

Yeah but five or ten turns into twenty, thirty, etc. And kids especially don't have a good sense for balancing screen time with the rest of the meal.

Fine but phones can also create more conversation, not just take away from it. Think about all the opportunities to share pictures and news from mutual friends and family.

Fine but that can also act as a crutch that prevents people from learning how to actually have conversations without prompts from their digital devices.

Ok even if that is true, there are a lot of things that are way worse that you could do at a dinner table. Think about all the people who actually take calls at the table. Swiping a few things quietly while others around you are talking is pretty innocuous. 

Ok but one person turns into two, three, etc. When one person at the table starts looking at their phone it sets off a chain reaction because it signals that the behavior is acceptable.

Sure but why not just look at the positive elements of this situation since it's 100% not going to change. Cell phones at the table are here to stay.

Sure the majority of people might settle for this, but it doesn't mean the minority shouldn't vocalize their opinion on the matter. If you're with someone having a meal and you don't like having phones out you should express that. And you shouldn't be made to feel like the bad guy.

But actually you should. Because it's not your right to tell someone how to spend their time during a meal. There are lots of ways to experience dining.

But if we keep going down this path, eating a meal will shift from being a conversation and just turn into a sad independent experience that doesn't require other humans.


The Devil's Advocate blog is an experimental format that poses a question, then has two opposing voices share their thought process as they defend why they agree or disagree. Learn more about the Devil's Advocate card game here. Sign-up below to get on the pre-order list.