News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Enjoy a phone-free Thanksgiving

“No one knows for sure what happened at the original Thanksgiving, but I am fairly confident that it did not involve a group of people hunched around a table posting turkey photos to Instagram,” wrote Catherine Price this week.

In her free Screen/Life Balance newsletter, Price wrote that she’s “pretty sure whoever invited you to join them for Thanksgiving” doesn’t want to be rewarded with a “table of guests with their noses in their phones.”

Thanksgiving today, for many Americans, represents a time of gathering together with family — whether that means our relatives and birth families, or a “chosen family” of friends and compatriots. Connecting, showing gratitude, and expressing thanks are on the traditional Thanksgiving agenda.

Screen time and digital-device use has been shown to disrupt the natural bonding processes that happen between human beings. While using phones or video games, people dissociate from their bodies and their immediate surroundings.

That means they can’t truly connect with each other, or be aware enough of their real-life world to feel deeply thankful.

Price offered several tips to break the phone and screen habit for a day, or even just during Thanksgiving dinner itself. She wrote that “this can be a hard ask to make of your guests, especially if the subject hasn’t come up before.”

Basic instructions include:

1.?Warn your guests ahead of time that phones will not be welcome at the Thanksgiving table.

2.?Bring out a nice-looking basket, bowl, or box where everyone can put their phones during dinner.

3.?An optional third step is to take a photo of everyone gathered around the dinner table.

4.?Ask everyone to turn off their notifications or turn phones off entirely.

5.?Put all phones in your attractive container, and hide it away in another room, out of sight.

Sample emails and texts are available for the warning to send your guests ahead of time. Price’s free online toolkit also contains helpful prompts for getting guests talking at the table.

The author of “How to Break Up with Your Phone” and founder of Screen/Life Balance, Price told The Nugget she believes it’s possible to use technology wisely. She offers personal coaching, programs, and free tips to help people get a grip on their media and digital-device use.

“More and more people are realizing that the time they spend on their phones doesn’t always make them feel good,” Price said, “and that staring at our screens is having negative effects on our brains and bodies.”

For a full phone-free Thanksgiving toolkit and other resources, see http://www.screenlife


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