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Kitchen Tools & Gadgets

New app chastises you for picking up your phone during dinner

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Check in with this app to check out. (Dinner Mode)

A new app wants to change the way we eat dinner by making us feel bad for looking at our phones during mealtime.

Dinner Mode challenges diners to disconnect while at the table with a very simple concept.

Users simply open the app, set a timer for how long you plan on enjoying your meal (anywhere from 15 minutes to a leisurely two hours), then follow the prompt to turn your phone face down. If you make it through the time without checking your phone, you are handsomely rewarded with a hearty “Congratulations!” You can share your time spent away from your dear digital appendage on social media and challenge friends, or other users, to do the same.

But if you cheat and look at your phone—even just to turn it over—a big red dinner plate appears and tells you that you have failed big time.

Sounds pretty harsh, but it may actually help people reconnect, says creator Sloane Davidson.

“Dinner Mode started as a nod, a nudge to encourage people to be offline while they were eating. I pictured more, I wanted a timer—something really simple,” Davidson told First We Feast. “I’m really excited at the opportunity to help people create a habit, and I think food is a great gateway because eating is something all of us do every day.”

She developed the idea after spending nearly two months working on a farm after a personal loss—away from typical urban life and the chaos of constant dings, pings and mindless chatter. When returning to New York City, Davidson says she was basically in “shock” and was inspired to make something that would help people avoid distractions during meal time.

Dinner Mode is a great idea-- and it's free to download from the Apple Store-- but why not go the extra mile and leave your phone in your pocket or purse during meal time.