Going out for dinner with loved ones? Keep your phone aside as you may enjoy less if you use your device while dining with your family and friends, a new study suggests. Researchers found that people who used their devices while out for dinner with friends and family enjoyed themselves less than those who did not.
“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,” said lead author Ryan Dwyer from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
For the study, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, the researchers asked more than 300 people to go to dinner with friends and family at a restaurant. Participants were randomly assigned to either keep their phones on the table or to put their phones away during the meal. After the meal, they were asked a variety of questions.
The researchers were careful to ensure participants were unaware they were being monitored for their smartphone use. When phones were present, participants felt more distracted, which reduced how much they enjoyed spending time with their friends and family, the researchers found.
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 participants reporting they enjoyed their in-person social interactions less if they had been using their phones.