A study from the University of British Columbia found that phones make social interactions less fun.
“When we use our phones while we are spending time with people we care about—apart from offending them—we enjoy the experience less” explained one of the researchers, Ryan Dwyer.
When phones were on the table, participants reported more boredom during the meal. This finding surprised the researchers—they assumed that people would be less bored when they had access to their phones because they could entertain themselves if there was a lull in the conversation.
The joy-dampening effects of phones extend beyond the dinner table. In-person social interactions suffer when we are on our phones – be it at work, watching a movie, or taking a walk. Just the sight of a phone—yours or someone else’s—is enough to undermine the quality of a conversation.
Bottom line: There is a real and detectable benefit from putting your phone away when you’re spending time with friends and family.