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Smartphones Make Eating Out With Friends Boring, Shows Research

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According to a new study released by the University of British Columbia, while smartphones might make people feel more connected, they actually add to the boredom when dining out with friends and family (via Peninsula News Review).

The research, which was led by psychology PhD student Ryan Dwyer and involved observing the effect of smartphones on face-to-face social interactions, found that people who used their smartphones while out for dinner with friends and family enjoyed themselves less than those who did not. 

Participants

The researchers observed 300 people going to dinner with friends and family, with some being directed to keep their phones on the table and others to put them away. Those being observed were not told that they were being monitored for their smartphone use.

“When we use our phones while we are spending time with people we care about— apart from offending them— we enjoy the experience less than we would if we put our devices away,” Dwyer said in a news release.

The study found that people whose phones were present felt more distracted and didn’t enjoy spending time with their fellow diners. They also said they felt more boredom during meals. “We had predicted that people would be less bored when they had access to their smartphones, because they could entertain themselves if there was a lull in the conversation,” Dwyer said.

The study’s senior author and professor at UBC’s department of psychology Elizabeth Dunn said the findings add a layer to the ongoing debate over the effects of smartphones on public health.

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