• Pope Francis Advises Parents to Ban Phones from the Dinner Table

    The family should be talking and listening to one another, not looking at screens, he says

  • Photo by Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

    Filipinos are family-centered people. It’s important to us that each member of the family is seated at the table for meals, especially for Sunday dinner. However, Pope Francis says that there’s something we should exclude from the family gathering: cell phones.  

    In his weekly catechesis in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope advised parents to not allow phones on the dinner table as a way to bring a sense of togetherness to the family.   “Togetherness is a sure thermometer for measuring the health of relationships,” said the Pope, “if something isn't going well in a family, or if there's some hidden wound, it's immediately clear at the table.”

    The Pope stresses the importance of a family that eats together; however, he also says that what we do when we’re gathered is also as important. A family who doesn’t talk, share stories or attempts to reach out to one another at the dinner table but instead “watches television or looks at the smartphone, is not much of a family.” he says. 

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    “When the children are attached to the computer and the telephone at the table, and don’t listen to one another, this isn’t family, it’s a hostel!” he adds.

    The Pope acknowledges the many obstacles blocking family togetherness in the modern age. “We must find a way to recover [togetherness],” he says. 

    “At the table we talk, at the table we listen. No more silence, that silence that isn't the silence of nuns, but the silence of selfishness, where everyone does his own thing, or is on the television or computer . . . and they don't talk.”

    The key to overcoming these obstacles is a conscious effort to adapt with the times in order to meet the needs of the family, he concludes. 

    Just as well that you put down those phones at the dinner table, moms and dads, because it doesn't just hurt your family’s sense of togetherness you’re also making your child feel he’s not important to you.  

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    A study, published earlier this year, surveyed more than 6,000 children and found that 52% of the kids felt that their parents were spending too much time on their phones.32% of the children felt unimportant when their parents used their phones during meal times and conversations.

    Set a good example, parents. Don’t use your phone at the dinner table. The family that prays, eats and communicates with each other stays together.


    Sources:
    Nov. 11, 2015. "Pope Francis to Parents: Take the Smartphones off the Dinner Table". alateia.org
    Nov. 12, 2015. "To Strengthen Relationships, Pope Francis Asks Families to Exclude Phones From Mealtimes". popsugar.com

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