Will Ferrell’s new PSA campaign will definitely get you off your phone at the dinner table
Remember before cell phones and tablets, when dinner was a time to gather around the table and talk to each other, sans screens? What if we could bring that back?
Sure, there’s a lot of scary research out there about kids spending too much time looking at screens, but Will Ferrell’s new PSA campaign is telling us to take a look at ourselves, too. Grown ups aren’t totally innocent, and maybe we could all stand to put our phones down for dinner, too.
In a series of darkly funny new videos, Ferrell plays the phone-addicted dad whose wife and kids look on with forlorn faces as he straight up ignores them at the dinner table, instead talking about how many likes he got on social media and recording videos of himself eating to share with his followers. Sure, it’s very exaggerated and a little cheesy, but this campaign is on to something. You know you have nodded along, half listening, as someone talked to you while you were looking at your phone. Literally everyone has done this. Making a little effort to have less screen time and more face time (and I’m not talking about the app) isn’t a bad thing.
The videos are produced and distributed by Goodby Silverstein & Partners for the nonprofit Common Sense Media, and even though they feature Dad behaving badly on his phone, they’re aimed at all members of the family who have trouble being separated from their devices.
“It’s no fun to show someone disciplining a kid, but disciplining a parent who happens to be played by a famous comedian? Major fun,” Jeff Goodby, founder and chairman of Goodby Silverstein & Partners, said in a statement.
Partner and chief creative officer Margaret Johnson added, “We know that kids who have dinners at the table without devices get better grades, have healthier eating habits and are more socialized than kids who have devices at the table. So we enlisted some celebrity help to show the importance of having device-free dinners.”
Ferrell donated his time to shoot the ads, and he and his wife, Viveca, “are focused on putting down devices and sharing quality time together,” according to Common Sense.
For parents who struggle to limit their kids’ screen time, the ads are a good reminder that kids aren’t the only culprits when it comes to valuing devices over family time. So let Ferrell inspire your family to put the phones away and have dinner together, face-to-face.