Somehow, Albert Einstein saw it coming. Even though the German physicist was born in 1879, he had a view into our world. He saw what we all see daily, countless times.
You’re out with your family or friends, enjoying an outing—in a museum, a restaurant, or even at home at the family table. A simple glance around shows that everyone has their eyes cast downward, their faces often illuminated by a brightly lit screen.
Perhaps because his mind understood scientific possibilities that ordinary people cannot fathom, Einstein knew that, one day, people would be more focused on gaming, reading their emails, or checking the weather than they would be on one another.
He said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
We aren’t idiots yet, but it is certainly true that the art of conversation is getting lost, pushed aside by scheduling needs, thoughts that can’t wait, or fear of missing out.
We recognize this growing trend here at Patrick’s Pub & Eatery, and we want to help give our customers a cyber break. So, we’ve created a simple new program we call Sundae Unplugged. Customers who visit us on Sundays will have the option to commit to enjoying their time with us sans electronics—phones, tablets, laptops, and even the television. (Unplugged is only available in our dining room, which has no TVs.)
Those families who are successful will be rewarded with an ice cream Sundae, on which they can add a variety of toppings themselves.
“Albert really was a genius. Technology has begun to consume the time that people spend together, in person. We see it often consuming the dining experiences,” says Patrick’s Co-owner Allan Beetle. “With Unplugged, we hope to give people a little incentive to focus on those they are seated next to and across from, instead of those on the Web.
“We don’t think we can cure all of humanity, though,” Allan jokes. “We’re just taking it one Sunday dinner at a time.”
We know that screen time is not just a problem inside restaurants. It’s a growing problem in the world—at home, at school, everywhere.
According to a recent report by Common Sense Media, the amount of time children ages 8 and younger spend on mobile screens has tripled in four years, from 15 minutes a day in 2013, to 48 minutes a day in 2018.
And then there’s the time adults spend online. According to an article titled “7 Important Reasons to Unplug and Find Space,” by Joshua Becker, studies show some mobile device owners check their technology every 6.5 minutes, even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating.
There is value for people of all ages in disconnecting. Researchers have found that one in three people feel more dissatisfied with their lives after spending time on Facebook, as the opportunity for envy presents itself on social media in a variety of ways, from observations of others’ family happiness, to body image, to vacation destinations.
We say, just tune into your own life and stay there, as often as you are able.
“Patrick’s is about family and friends, and building community,” Allan says. “We hope people will use a visit to our Sundae Unplugged as a way to focus on human connections—and enjoy a delicious dessert to boot.”
Come down to Patrick’s any Sunday. We’ll get you Unplugged.