Cell Phones Ruin Family Time

I’ve had many weird experiences during my time as a waitress. Being paid by a customer with a cracked, bleeding skull, eating like there was nothing wrong. Calling Child Protective Services because a mother was hitting her 3-year-old with sticks, during dinner. Having my boss escort the waitresses to their cars because of suggestive customers. You name it, I’ve probably witnessed or experienced it, but one of the saddest changes has been the introduction of technology into the family meal.

I had a group of regular customers, a family of eight or nine – I can’t remember now – with at least seven of those being children under age 10. Every one of them had an iPad and played their downloaded games throughout dinner, as the mother hid their iPads when one misbehaved. This is what I mean by the “introduction of technology.”

As a kid, my family would always eat together at the dinner table. It didn’t matter what my brother and I were doing, but once dinner was made, we were told to return home. Times have changed, but my family still makes it a point to eat together whenever possible. I’ve learned a lot of life lessons this way.

On any given day, half of my customers would be staring at their cell phones throughout the entire meal. Parents, children, entire families. Frequently, I experienced entire appetizer, meal, dessert durations of time spent with each party barely speaking to one another. Whatever was on the other side of their screens was obviously more important than the person present.

Teenagers are the worst with cell phones. Probably about 95 percent of my teenage customers were constantly on their cell phones, texting, talking, instagramming, playing games, vining. What is the obsession about?

I can’t act hypocritical here, because myself, along with everyone else (I’m sure) is guilty. However, I can’t understand the benefit of parents introducing their children to this behavior. When I received a cell phone, it was before the era of smart phones, and my parents wouldn’t allow excessive use at the dinner table. Now, parents and children alike are sitting, side-by-side, texting.

Even though technology has such a positive impact on our society, it’s tearing us apart. Families don’t communicate nearly as much as they should, and cell phones are ruining quality time spent with others. Children are missing out on life lessons, because they’re distracted. Parents are resorting to their cell phones and ignoring their children.

Next time you take a trip to your local restaurant, take a look around and note ALL the people on their phones. You’ll be surprised. Even though I experienced it almost every day, I was always taken aback.

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2 comments
  1. Escapist Theory, I really enjoyed this piece because it brought me back to my days as a waitress/bartender for nearly a decade as a side gig. I can totally relate to experiencing weird stuff – from people shooting up or snorting coke in the bathroom to others getting pimped out at the club WHILE I was taking their orders of Courvoisier and Moët. Things were more calm on the restaurant side of waiting tables, but I’ve definitely noticed the silence that has taken over with the onset of cell phones.

    I remember Matt Damon once saying in an interview a few years back that he would never get a cell phone because he was in the car with three of his friends and they were all on it talking to other people. It made him wonder what the hell they were doing in the car together to begin with. I’m guessing he caved and got one by now, but he truly drove your point home with that and I’ve never forgot it.

    As for this post, the only thing I was unclear of is as to whether or not you are currently a waitress. If not, please ignore the present tense suggestions. Great stuff :)

    I’ve had many weird experiences during my time as a waitress. [Being] (I was once) paid by a customer with a cracked, bleeding skull, [eating] (who ate) like there was nothing wrong. [Calling] (During another shift, I was forced to call) Child Protective Services [because] (after) a mother was hit[ting] her 3-year-old with sticks[,] during dinner. [Having] my boss (even) escort(s) the [waitresses] to their cars because of suggestive customers. You name it, I’ve probably witnessed or experienced it,(end sentence here). but one of the saddest changes has been the introduction of technology into the family meal.

    I [had] (remember waiting on) a group of regular customers (are these customers considered ‘regulars’? If so, I would suggest just saying that), a family of eight or nine – I can’t remember now – with at least seven [of those being children] under (the) age (of ten) [10]. [Every one of them] (All seven) had an iPad and played [their downloaded] games throughout dinner,(End sentence here and switch the next one around to start with, “When one misbehaved, the mother would take them away”) as the mother hid their iPads when one misbehaved. This is what I mean(t) by the “introduction of technology.”

    As a kid, my family would always eat together at the dinner table. It didn’t matter what my brother and I were doing, but once dinner was made, we [were told to return] (knew to head) home. Times have changed (since then), (start a new sentence here) but my family still makes it a point to eat together whenever possible. [I’ve learned] (Eating together has helped me to learn) a lot of life lessons [this way].

    On any given day (at the restaurant), half of my customers [would be staring] (stare) at their cell phones throughout the entire meal. Parents, children, entire families (“and even dates” might work better here for more of a punch). Frequently, I experienced entire appetizer, meal, dessert durations of time spent with each party barely speaking to one another. (This sentence can be broken down a bit by saying something like, “I often see customers go from appetizers to dessert without saying a word.”) Whatever [was] (is) on the other side of their screens [was] (is) obviously more important than the person [present] (they’re with).

    Teenagers are the worst with cell phones. [Probably] about 95 percent of my teenage customers [were] (are) constantly on their [cell] phones, texting, talking, instagramming, playing games, (or) vining. [What is the] (Why this) obsession [about]?

    [I can’t act hypocritical here, because myself, along with everyone else (I’m sure) is] (I’m) guilty (too). [However], (But) I [can’t understand] (don’t see) the benefit of parents introducing their children to this behavior. [When I received a cell phone, it was before the era of] (My first cell was not a) smart phone[s], (end sentence here and start with “My parents”) and my parents wouldn’t allow excessive use at the dinner table. Now, parents and children alike are sitting, side-by-side, [texting] (I would suggest ending this sentence with something like, “completely ignoring each other” to bring the point home).

    Even though technology has such a positive impact on our society, [it’s tearing] (it tears) us apart. Families don’t communicate nearly as much as they should, (end sentence here.) [and cell phones are ruining] (They ruin) quality time spent with others. Children are missing out on (important) life lessons, because they’re distracted. Parents are resort[ing] to their cell phones [and] (to) ignor[ing] their children.

    Next time you take a trip to your local restaurant, take a look around [and note ALL the people on their phones] (to witness this yourself). You’ll be surprised (at how many people are on their cells). Even though [I experienced it almost] (this was my experience) every day, [I was always taken aback] (it continues to shock me).

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