More Than Half Of Us Can't Get Through Dinner Without Checking Our Phones

Just put it down.

Worried your dinnertime small talk has been getting worse lately because your company can’t help but check their phones? Fear not.

It is more likely a symptom of their smartphone addiction than your poor chat, as over half (55 per cent) of Brits have admitted they can no longer make it through an entire dinner without checking their device at least once.

New research from YouGov found more than half of us use our phones while we’re eating at home, and 53 per cent can’t even be tempted away from their smartphone when dining out in restaurants with friends or family.

Not only that but more than half (54 per cent) said they can’t go more than 48 hours without checking their phone before it starts to bother them.

Carlina Teteris via Getty Images

It has become so bad that some people have started devising ways of stopping their friends and family checking their phone during meals.

Georgia Haggar, 22, from York, told HuffPost UK that whenever she goes out with her friends everyone places their phone in a stack on the table and the first to reach for theirs pays for dinner or drinks. “We actually pay attention to each other rather than our phones!” she says.

And Michael Portz, 32, who lives in Manchester, ended up losing a friendship because his mate would constantly check social media, Whatsapp and dating apps whenever they met up. Eventually they grew apart and lost contact.

Russell Feldman, director of digital, media and technology research at YouGov said of the findings: “It will have escaped no-one’s notice that smartphones are taking over our lives. Across the land, the sight of heads bowed over small screens is now ubiquitous. But what our research shows is just how attached to our mobile phones we really are – and perhaps without even realising it.”

Tech giants are trying to take some responsibility - with tools that allow you to manage your screen time or stop you using it late at night (65 per cent of users check their phones in bed despite sleep issues being linked to the blue light).

But often the tools feel like little more than a token gesture. National campaigns like the Scroll Free Challenge have also been introduced in an attempt to raise awareness of the issue and help users cut down on their mobile device use.

Feldman said: “We can only speculate on the impact this is having in terms of our relationships with colleagues, friends and even close family – but our survey does suggest that traditional conversations are being discarded, in favour of checking our latest email, notification or message.”

If you’re struggling with finding balance with your phone then you can sign up to HuffPost UK’s 28-day scroll free challenge at any time of the year.