Pope Francis: "Texting during meals is the start of war"

Source: Alessandra Tarantino/AP

The man widely known as the "Cool Pope" has made his opinion clear on whether cell phones belong at the dinner table. 

On Friday, Pope Francis gave a speech at Roma Tre University, a university in Rome, and advised young people that phones are the enemy of dinnertime conversation.  

“When we’re at the table, when we are speaking to others on our telephones, it’s the start of war because there is no dialogue,” he said, the Telegraph reported.

Pope Francis arrives to lead his audience to Holy See workers at Paul VI hall on Dec. 22, 2016 at the Vatican.
Source: Tiziana Fabi/Getty Images

The pontiff has condemned using technology at the dinner table before. In 2015, the pope delivered a similar message during an address at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

"A family that almost never eats together, or that never speaks at the table but looks at the television or the smartphone, is hardly a family," he said in 2015. "When children at the table are attached to the computer or the phone and don’t listen to each other, this is not a family, this is a pensioner."

By calling families who use screens at dinner "pensioners," the pope is trying to say that there's no bond or togetherness. If you've got your eyes glued to a screen, you're not making or creating bonds with the people joining you at the table. If you're ignoring your dining mates, you might as well be eating alone in a cafeteria. 

Women looking at their smartphones while having dinner at a street food restaurant in Bangkok.
Source: Nicolas Asfouri/Getty Images

Texting between bites is bad for your health

The pope is onto something: Reviewing the latest @RealDonaldTrump tweets can probably wait until the dinner plates have been cleared. Having a conversation during dinnertime holds important benefits, whether you have a family or you're dining with friends.

Researchers found that dinnertime conversation boosts vocabulary in young children more than reading stories aloud. In the study, kids learned 1,000 "rare" words from table conversation while kids only learned 143 rare words from storybooks. 

Scrolling through Instagram while you scarf down lunch? Not a good idea. Studies suggest that distracting yourself with technology while you eat can lead to overeating, Greatist noted. If you're focused on double-tapping pics instead of how delicious your meal is, you'll feel less full.

And using your hands to switch between your phone and your fork? Pretty gross. Studies have found that tech devices are more bacteria-ridden than public toilet seats. Think about that next time you're simultaneously eating and tweeting. 

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Alex Orlov

Alex is a food staff writer. She can be reached at aorlov@mic.com.

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