Thanks for signing up for the #DeviceFreeDinner challenge. The idea is simple: you ask your friends and family to put their phones away for the duration of the meal, so that you can actually spend time together. But if you want to make this into something more official (and fun), here are some ideas and resources that can help.
(Note: feel free to customize based on your own family.)
Warn people ahead of time that you don’t keep phones out at meals. Yes, it might seem crazy to have to do this, but it could save you some awkward moments and confused stares. We’ve provided a sample email below that you can use, in case words fail you.
Get a basket or attractive box that can hold everyone’s phones. (Optional: place the printable DEVICE BOX SIGN on your basket or box—just in case anyone didn’t get the message.)
As everyone sits down at the table, ask that everyone put their phones into the box/basket. (You can promise to return them after the meal!)
If you’d like, use our CONVERSATION PROMPTS (see below) to get everybody talking.
Eat dinner. Converse. Connect.
Here’s that email text that you can crib from:
This holiday / dinner party / upcoming meal, we’re participating in the Device Free Dinner (#DeviceFreeDinner) challenge, in which we’ll ask all guests to put away their phones during the meal so that we can be truly be present during our time together. Thanks for joining us for this experiment—we can’t wait to see you!”
And here are more detailed instructions on what to do with the resources below:
Printable CONVERSATION PROMPTS: You can put one underneath each person’s plate and then have people discover them during the meal, Oprah-style, or put them into a jar or basket that you can pass around during the meal. Feel free to add your own.
Shareable SOCIAL MEDIA BADGE: The more people participate, the better. Use this social media badge to tell people what you’re doing and invite them to join you. Just remember: no social media at the dinner table.
Printable PHONE-FREE ZONE SIGN: Want to go even further? You could designate a room (or even your whole house!) as a no-phone zone. Hang these up, and you’ll turn your house into the equivalent of the Quiet Car on Amtrak: you’ll clearly communicate (without confrontation) that you would like to spend quality time together with your guests, instead of having time drift away as everyone loses themselves in their devices.