March 24, 2016

Is digital addiction destroying your dinner?

Sharing food is one of the most fundamental human interactions. It’s what families, friendships, cultures and entire societies are built on the world over. Without it, we would all be worse off – there would be more friction in all our relationships, there would be less empathy, there would be less compromise.

There is a worrying trend of less face-to-face conversation at the expense of device browsing. Most of us are guilty of it and this is usually how it goes:

  • You reach for their phone to check a quick fact in the middle of a conversation
  • You see some notifications on whatsapp, facebook and twitter that need to be quickly checked
  • You then see a post on an interesting video which you quickly watch
  • Another similar video pops up which you also watch
  • You then remember you haven’t responded to the original notification so you reply to that quickly
  • …and before you know it 10 minutes have passed where conversation has either stopped altogether or become very disengaged and stilted.

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The convenience of these types of interactions is incredible and is mostly extremely positive. Having this type of information at your fingertips was unthinkable even 5 years ago.

However, there is a time and a place for accessing this information…

So, we are recommending to all guests in our Morzine ski chalets this winter that they partake in Device-Free-Dining whilst on holiday. We don’t want to be prescriptive about how people should enjoy their holidays so it is only a recommendation rather than an obligation but so far, the feedback has been very positive.

It seems as though people all know it is the right thing to do and appreciate being given a reason not to use their device. In fact, one suggestion this week was that the first person to reach for their phone during dinner picks up the chalet honesty bar bill for the week!

Our hope is that Device-Free-Dining will result in:

  • Long, in-depth, meandering conversations that are not interrupted by technology
  • Unresolved debates – it’s ok not to have a debate winner sponsored by Wikipedia
  • Stronger relationships created and built on over the course of the holiday

We will keep you updated with feedback from our chalet guests and in the meantime leave you with this quote from Louise Fresco, the Dutch writer:‘Food, in the end, in our own tradition, is something holy. It’s not about nutrients and calories. It’s about sharing. It’s about honesty. It’s about identity’