Four in ten Brits think it’s socially unacceptable to use your mobile phone whilst out for a meal with friends, new research has revealed.
A survey carried out by YouGov Omnibus and Yahoo News UK asked just over 2,000 people in what circumstances they think its OK to get your phone out whilst out for dinner at a restaurant with friends.
In total, 42% said that they don’t think it’s ever appropriate to be on the phone whilst eating out.
A third (32%) think answering a phone call is socially acceptable, while one in five (19%) think texting is okay, and just 13% think it’s acceptable to use your phone to go on social media platforms whilst out at a restaurant with friends.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, using a phone whilst out for a meal is seen as far more acceptable by younger people than older age groups.
Just a quarter (26%) of 18-24-year-olds think it’s never okay to do so, rising to around a third for age groups between 25 and 54.
But when it comes to the over-55s, nearly six in ten (58%) said it’s never socially acceptable to use your phone whilst out at a restaurant with friends.
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The results of the poll come after Frankie and Benny’s became the first UK restaurant to ban mobiles at the dinner table, offering free children’s meals for families who hand over their phones before taking a seat.
The move followed after a study Ginger Research discovered that 72% of British kids wish their parents would spend less time on their phone and more time talking to them.
So when is it okay to use your phone at the table?
Speaking on the podcast, etiquette expert William Hanson said there are some circumstances where it might be acceptable to use a phone at the table whilst dining out.
He said: “I think it depends on the restaurant. I would say never during the ‘food bit’, so if you’re all eating, no. I don’t care whether your partner is at home having a complete breakdown.
“If you’ve got a smartwatch, for example, which I do and often I can feel it buzzing several times and you think, ‘I know that is my partner having a breakdown’
“So now I put it into ‘do not disturb’ mode. They know where I am. And if I haven’t put it into do not disturb mode and I need to go and reassure them, I excuse myself from the table and go and do it in the cubicle in the loo and text them away from the table.
“But if a group of friends have asked for my time to go out for dinner, they want my time, they don’t want my phone’s time.
“After the meal, I think yes, let’s say there was a photograph you wanted to show…in order to complement the anecdote, that perhaps would be fine but I would still go, ‘if you’d permit me to get my phone out’, but maybe I do that because it’s my job and people are horrified.
“But obviously this is in more casual restaurants and not in terribly formal restaurants where you will get tasered if you get your phone out.”