Can Technology Help Improve Family Mealtimes?



I think just about every parent sitting down to a family meal has some strong opinions on whether or not technology belongs at the dinner table. I came across this Forbes article from Michael Wolf that offers up an interesting spin on the subject. It’s an approach that a parent and a technology lover such as myself can appreciate.

Let’s start with the basics. Wolf cites an article from the UK’s Daily Mail that presents some noteworthy numbers; not the least of which is the fact that one-third of kids between the ages of 5 and 15 bring a gadget to the family dinner table; and 22% of families feel technology is preventing them from having conversations. Even the Pope has weighed in on the subject.

I know from my own experience that parents can be equally guilty, because they’re simply unable to “shut down” from their working day.

But before we think we have to take the all or nothing approach (and risk turning mealtime into the cold shoulder treatment), Wolf offers up some intriguing ideas on how technology can be used to improve the family meal experience for both parents and children. He suggests things such as:

  • Using recipe and shopping apps to plan meals and create shopping lists
  • Getting kids involved in cooking with the latest instructional apps and videos
  • Using online meal delivery services a couple of times a week
  • Trying out some innovative cooking technologies

For those who really hate any technology at the table, there are in fact apps around that parents can use to shut off their kids’ devices (or at least connectivity to the Internet) from their own phones. The latest tech trick? A Wi-Fi blocking pepper grinder .

I’m not sure any of us need to go that far. But then again, there’s something to be said for straight talking.

Is technology affecting personal communications around your dinner table? How do you deal with it?

By Werner Sievers, CEO


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