Conversations around the dinner table are fast becoming a dying trend, with British families choosing to either not eat around the table, feeling too tired to talk or too distracted by their gadgets to pay attention to those around them.
The team at www.VoucherCodesPro.co.uk conducted the research as part of an ongoing study into British attitudes towards family and traditional customs.
2,418 British parents aged 18 and over, all of whom stated that they had at least one child under the age of 16 that lived with them, were quizzed about their family dynamics.
Initially, all respondents were asked ‘Where do you and your family typically eat at dinner time?’ to which the top responses were ‘in the living room, in front of the TV’ (39%), ‘at the dinner table’ (29%) and ‘in separate rooms’ (21%).
Of those who admitted that they ate in the living room in front of the TV, 57% said it was because they ‘don’t want to miss the family’s favourite shows’ (32%) whilst others admitted it was because ‘the dinner table is saved for special occasions’ (30%). Similarly, of those who admitted that family members tended to eat in different rooms, the top reasons why were cited as ‘so we can all watch different shows on different TVs’ (36%) and ‘we all eat at different times’ (34%).
All respondents were then asked ‘When you eat at the dinner table, do you have conversations with your family?’ to which 66% of respondents said ‘no’.
Relevant respondents were then asked why they didn’t tend to talk over dinner. When provided with a list of possible responses why, and told to select all that applied, the top five responses were as follows:
We’re too tired - 68%
Too distracted by technology, i.e. smartphones and tablets - 50%
We prefer not to talk through dinner, not wanting food to go cold - 28%
We’re not an overly talkative family - 20%
Tensions are high, for one reason or another - 17%.
George Charles, spokesperson for www.VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, made the following comments: “It’s a shame that technology is taking over our lives, to the extent that we can’t even talk to our own family at dinner time – the one time of the day we are usually all together - to chat about our days. Families should consider banning technology from the dinner table; they’d find that they talk more, probably get on better and know more about what’s going on in each other’s lives.”