Hectic modern life and new technology are killing off the ritual of families having dinner together.
A new study has found that few families have neither the time nor inclination to sit eat together regularly.
Breadwinners get home too late for the children to wait to be fed, and TV viewing choices are increasing fragmented, so family members retreat to other rooms to view while chowing.
More than half, 59 per cent, eat dinner at a different time to the rest of their family. And those who do sit down to eat are increasingly doing so in front of the television, with 83 per cent saying they usually dine in the living room.
As well as longer working hours, the prevalence of technology such as tablet computers and smartphones is playing a part in alienating family members.
More than half of those surveyed by Lloyds bank said they prefer to watch their favourite programmes in bed rather than on the sofa with family, while a further 16 per cent admitted spending most of their waking hours in the bedroom.
Historian and author Melanie Backe-Hansen said: "It seems the tradition of families sitting down to eat together may be impacted by longer working hours, more hectic social lives and the growing influence of technology."
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