Family & Parenting

Time to turn off the mobile and start talking to each other again before the art of social conversation is lost altogether

Many believe mobile phones are destroying the art of real conversation
Marie Louise McConville

Do you think the great minds behind the creation of social media sites ever regret their inventions?

In all likelihood, the thinking behind the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram was most likely an attempt to bring the world closer together, unite people from everywhere and anywhere.

But, in reality, all it has done is put distance between us all.

No matter where we go, what we do, we have our phones or another electronic device in our hands and thus, those beside us at home on the sofa, in a restaurant at dinner or at the gym, get side-lined and ignored.

We've all done it, on a date or out for the night with friends and the phone goes and you just "have to get this" and so, the conversation stalls and really before long, everyone is on their phones checking on all the latest bizz.

And, I'm just as guilty as anyone. I've sometimes been so engrossed in the nonsense on my phone that I've missed the wonderful `spare-of-the-moment' memories being made around me.

Actually talking to other people has become so under-rated and if we're not careful, we could soon forget how to do it altogether - and it seems I'm not the only person who thinks so.

It's been reported this week that English pub chain, Samuel Smiths , in a bid to save the art of the ‘social conversation' has banned punters from using digital devices in its 300 outlets.

The chain insists that if pub-goers want to use their phone, they will have to leave its premises just like smoking.

In addition, tablets and iPads are prohibited.

Customers are also not allowed to receive transmitted pictures of sport or downloads either on the brewery's premises, either inside or outside.

The chain said it's policy "is that our pubs are for social conversation person to person".

What a wonderful and very brave move.

I really hope their customers buy into it and don't abandon their pubs for other more technology-friendly venues.

Maybe we should all follow this example.

We could all start with a small step such as banning phones at the dinner table, that way, conversation would be encouraged to flow.

I'm going to give it a go, I mean, we did all exist before the mobile phone and technology and we had fun nights out and relationships still flourished before likes, winks, waves and emojis.

Maybe it's time to revert to the old ways and actually start getting to know each other again - what's the worst that can happen.

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Sex and The City fans have been rejoicing this week amid reports there could be a follow-up series in the works.

The new show, which will focus on love and dating after the age of 50, would be based on forthcoming book `Is There Still Sex in the City?' by Candace Bushnell, the author of the collection of essays that eventually turned into the cult show starring Sarah Jessica Parker.

The rights to the book have reportedly been acquired by Paramount Television and Anonymous Content.

Fingers crossed it happens, we've missed all the fun and games in the Big Apple.

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Competition

Summer is on the horizon, so how do you fancy winning some outdoor fun for the family?

As well as selling kite design kits that the whole family can enjoy, Co Down business Go Fly Your Kite also delivers kite design workshops all over Ireland and the UK.

A passionate business with a wealth of experience working with children, young people and adults, its ethos is to encourage and facilitate learning, confidence building and artistic skills through fun.

The company's aim is to provide great service, great delivery and create fantastic memories for all who use their kites.

The kite boxes give kids the chance to create their own designs on the kites before proudly flying them for all to see.

Each kite box include a kite, markers, graphics, rods and kite handles.

Go Fly Your Kite will be running kite workshops during the opening of Hillsborough Castle Visitor Centre from April 22-25 at Delamont Country Park in Killyleagh.

Further information is available at www.goflyyourkite.com

I have three kite boxes to give away.

If you fancy winning a gift bag, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to competitions@irishnews.com

Closing date for entries is 12Noon on Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

(Q) Where is Delamont Country Park?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply

The winners of the Buella Life Pankhurst competition are Francesca Hope, from Belfast, Brendan Lemon, from Lisburn, and Jean Sansome, from Belfast

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