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'No Phone Zone' trialled at UK restaurant chain

Over the last couple of decades, phone technology has advanced at an exponential rate. From waterproof and dustproof mobile phones to the ability to carry an entire music and book collection in your pocket, the smartphone market seems to cover every need.

Accompanying such significant development, however, are some downsides. Figures from 2015 revealed that more than two thirds of people in the UK own a smartphone* and many academic studies have shown the incessant usage of mobile phones can have a detrimental impact on social interaction.

Mobiles

A psychological experiment conducted at Virginia Tech University in the USA found that if, during the conversation, someone pulled out a smartphone, the participant rated the conversation as less fulfilling and felt less connected to their conversational partner than when no smartphone was used.**

Many people would probably agree that much of modern society's dependence on smartphones has had a negative impact on personal relationships, so much so that one UK restaurant chain has taken the intriguing step of trialling 'No Phone Zones' in some of its branches.

For Mother's Day 2016, Beefeater introduced areas of their restaurants where phones were banned. To enforce this, waiters collected devices before customers were seated and were allowed to move diners if they didn't follow the rule.

Explaining the reasoning behind the trial, the chain's Head of Marketing said: "There's no denying the huge benefits our smartphones provide us, but there is a time and a place for their use and, especially on Mother's Day, we think we can do without them for an hour or two."

Beefeater is yet to announce if their trial was a success or whether 'No Phone Zones' will become a more permanent feature in their restaurants the future, and while we think taking short breaks from technology is good for everybody, we're not sure how the public will react to rules forbidding smartphones at the table. What do you think about 'No Phone Zones'?

*http://media.ofcom.org.uk/news/2015/cmr-uk-2015/
** http://www.livescience.com/46817-smartphones-lower-conversation-quality.html