Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Putting Some Healthy Limits on Technology

A popular big-city restaurant recently offered its customers a 5% discount on their meal tab if they would turn in their smart phone for the duration of their stay in the restaurant. Apparently about sixty percent of the customers have accepted the offer. And I have a hunch some very good things have happened during those meals.

I would guess that couples are talking to each other more. They are more likely to be engaging in each other's lives and learning things they should have known but did not.

I would think that families are having more fun together and coming up with special ways to enjoy the moments they have with each other before their food arrives. Children probably have time to tell stories about their day or week and parents have more opportunity to just enjoy the spontaneous laughter and insights their children initiate when talked to and listened to intentionally.

Who knows what other good results will happen but it sure seems like they will be worth it, much more than the five percent discount.

Of course, it's not that technology is bad. I love it. It keeps me learning,  helps me organize my week and to stay in touch with other important people in my life. But it can subtly steal relationship from us, especially during meals and other places where our family is together. I've often seen husbands and wives or dads and a child sitting in silence during their time together in a restaurant, focused on their phone or newspaper. When will they ever get that moment back?  Probably never.

When did phone calls, often inane comments on a website from friends and updates on sports scores become so necessary and important?  We live a lot of life as though we will miss something important and be scarred forever.

The biggest scars,  however, will be those left in children and spouses where a cell phone became more important than they were in the eyes of those they love. We are hurting ourselves and our families when we let the mundane take precedence over the eternal.

So maybe more of us would be wise to put the phone aside at key times during the day, especially when in the company of our family. Who knows?  You might even get a little something knocked off your bill?

Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.


  1. We have a rule in our house that phones are not allowed at the supper table.

  2. Absolutely Correct. I have spent too much time engrosed using my PC sometimes and my wife hates it! I need to spend more time with her giving her foot rubs and massages, and watching chick flicks, because in the end, it's about being there when she wants company, even if I don't enjoy the movie, she enjoys my being there with her.

  3. Glad you are willing to recognize that. Go for it and start somewhere now.

  4. I'm one of the spouses on the other side of the equation. I feel neglected because my wife spends so much time with her cell phone, on Facebook and texting. It makes me feel like she doesn't care about how I feel or what's going on with me. I've expressed this to her on several occasions. Things change for a little while, but then it goes back to the way it was. I enjoy talking and sharing my heart and just talking about life in general. But her phone has interrupted conversations to the point of me being practically ignored. Its very hurtful and I wish she could truly see and understand how it makes me feel.

  5. Sorry to hear, Anonymous, that your wife doesn't seem to see the problems with her overuse of technology. And I don't know enough to give you any significant therapeutic help here but I would consider telling her both how you "feel" when she does that and then what you "need" that would help. Perhaps if the two of you made an agreement to both work on your habits that it wouldn't be just about her. I wish you the best.