Common Sense Announces National Campaign to Promote Device-Free Dinner

Leading Children’s Advocacy Organization Launches #DeviceFreeDinner Campaign PSAs on August 6 During Prime-Time Olympics Coverage, One of the Highest-Rated TV Events of the Year

Common Sense Media
Friday, August 5, 2016

In Light of New Poll Showing Importance of Family Dinners, Desire to Keep Them Tech-Free, #DeviceFreeDinner Campaign Challenges Parents and Kids to Put Devices Down During Dinner Time

San Francisco, Calif.– Common Sense announced a national media campaign today to encourage families to stop using their mobile devices at the dinner table. The #DeviceFreeDinner campaign, which includes two 15-second and two 30-second PSAs, was developed by Common Sense and will air across the networks of NBCUniversal throughout 2016 Summer Olympics coverage.

"Our devices keep us connected, informed, and engaged, but dinner time is an important time to just say 'no,'" said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense. "Everything from better grades to a healthier lifestyle has been linked to eating together regularly as a family. By taking the Device-Free Dinner challenge, families will gain important family time and set an example for kids that we all need to carve out face-to-face conversation time in our lives."

Research shows that kids and adults feel addicted to their devices and that devices can undermine family connection. Research also shows that family interaction -- including eating meals together -- is critical for children's social and intellectual development.

New Common Sense polling finds that 70% of families have dinner together 5 or more times a week, and almost all (93%) parents think conversations during family dinners are important for talking about things happening in their children's lives. Two-thirds of parents and teens say mobile devices are not allowed at the dinner table, yet 47% said they or a family member used a mobile device at dinner in the last week, and 19% of parents keep their phone someplace where they can see it during meals.

Common Sense's new PSAs will air across the networks of NBCUniversal during its prime-time Olympics coverage on August 6 and will continue to air throughout the network's Olympics coverage, including additional prime-time events -- likely to be some of the highest-rated TV broadcasts of the year.

The PSAs feature humorous scenarios in which kids are seen distracted by their devices at mealtime, and athletes are distracted during competition, illustrating that certain times should clearly be device free. For families and kids, one of those times is the dinner table. The campaign ads were created by award-winning advertising executives Kirk Citron and Matt Haligman, founders of Citron Haligman Bedecarré and AKQA.

#DeviceFreeDinner is a multi-year public awareness campaign and movement to improve the lives of kids and families. At, families will be able to sign sign up for the #DeviceFreeDinner challenge, and teachers will find tools and information to get their students involved through a Family Activation guide. On the website, a counter will track the number of challenges signed, and the public will have access to free tips and information on how to have a #DeviceFreeDinner. In the fall, the second phase of the campaign will be announced, including a holiday-specific pledge and New Year's Resolution component.

For more information, including links to the PSA's, please visit the Device Free Dinner homepage.

About Common Sense
Common Sense is the nation's leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a powerful voice for kids and families in the 21st century. Millions of families, educators, and policymakers turn to Common Sense every day to access our independent ratings, unbiased research, and trusted tools and advice to help navigate a rapidly changing digital landscape at home and at school. Learn more at


Corbie Kiernan
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