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According to a new report from Common Sense Media, daily hand-held screen time for kids younger than 8 years old is up from an average of five minutes in 2011 to 48 minutes today. And it’s little wonder where they pick up on that habit. (Be honest: How many times have you checked Instagram today?)


That’s why Common Sense Media’s new #DeviceFreeDinner campaign is important for everyone in the family—as Will Ferrell hilariously and poignantly demonstrates in a series of public service announcements.

According to recent studies by both eMarketer and Flurry, the average American adult spends more than four hours per day on his phone—with half or more of that time devoted to scanning social media, with other big chunks devoted to reading articles, watching videos or communicating.

At the very least, that means we should also be game for a #DeviceFreeDinner. Along with Common Sense Media’s campaign, the nonprofit offers resources for planning your media-free meal in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Their tips for breaking your own device addiction:

  1. Keep a list of “things to Google later”
  2. Tame your device by putting on “do not disturb” or using automatic text responses
  3. Control “phantom vibrate mode” by putting your phone on the other side of the room
  4. Use parental controls to set screen-free times for yourself
  5. When you use your phone, use it for good—like with a mindfulness app

And while the subject of phone addiction isn’t a laughing matter—the example we set for our children is important—we’ve got to appreciate the way Ferrell illustrates the pitfalls of phones in the new PSAs.

So, tonight, how about following Ferrell’s lead by tucking away that phone before tucking into a big meal? Just make sure the basket is really off-limits.

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