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Commensality and the social use of technology during family mealtime
journal contributionposted on 2016-12-01, 00:00 authored by Hasan FerdousHasan Ferdous, B Ploderer, H Davis, F Vetere, K O'Hara
This article examines familial interactions, which are mediated through information and communication technologies, during domestic mealtimes. We seek to understand how technologies are used and negotiated among family members and the influence of technology on commensality. We conducted an observational study of six families. The findings showed how technologies are integrated into the mealtime activities. Our study identifies domestic circumstances where background technologies are raised to the foreground, visible devices are hidden, unwanted distractions become desired, and ordinary technologies are integrated into mealtime experiences. We identify four patterns of arrangement between technologies and family members during mealtimes, and we discuss how technologies contribute to mealtime satiety and commensality. Finally, we present implications of our findings and directions for technological advancements focusing on the social and celebratory nature of family mealtimes.