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Is Instagram ruining the way you eat?

Your mom probably thinks so.

by: Shaina herman | 28 Feb 2018

(Image: iStock)

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Let me start out by saying social media is fantastic. It has its pros and cons, but overall it’s been an asset to users everywhere. The ability to have your voice heard across the world with a tap of a button is an incredible connection for people who would otherwise not be recognised. 

Instagram is also amazing. I was skeptical at first, thinking it was just a platform where people liked to call themselves ‘artsy’ by adding a preset filter to a terrible photo of their cats. I’ve been since won over, even by the cats.

I’m all in. 

My mom, however, does not agree. She absolutely hates it when I’m on my phone at meals, and although she’s on her phone a lot (she LOVES Facebook, what mom of a Millennial doesn’t?), she just doesn’t get it. There’s a constant battle between manners and missing out. 

So I have to ask myself, is Instagram ruining the way I eat?


Which only led me to ask myself more questions, in hopes of making my mom happy, and generally not being a shitty person to dine with. 

Below, a perfect example of me paying more attention to my bagels (ok amazing bagels!) instead of talking to the woman who gave birth to me.

Am I still talking at the table? 
I absolutely cringe at tables with two people who sip their coffee and fork food into their mouths without saying a word to each other. I tell myself sad stories about their broken relationship and desperately want to do something, anything, to alleviate the awkwardness. But now I’m thinking, are other people asking this same question about me? Yes. Oy.

Do I have to use my flash to get the shot? 
If the answer is yes, there’s your excuse to put your phone away. Flash on food, outside of professional photos, is not good. Don’t do it. You are making your meal look worse.

Am I making other people at the table wait? 
My partner eye rolls hard every time a pretty meal comes to the table. He knows that by the time I’m done sticking my fingers in his food to get the shot, the dish will inevitably be cold (cue guilty face). I do this all the time and if it’s not ruining what I’m about to eat, I’ve definitely taken his excitement down a notch. 

Where’s the eye contact?
I have been known to hide behind my phone when I’m feeling alone or not chatty and that’s OK. I love using my device as a crutch but I’m a social person who likes to connect with people too, especially when I’m eating. And, especially with my friends and family. When my neck is hurting from looking down during dinner, it’s probably a cue that my phone is preventing me from looking my own mother in the eyes and asking her how her day was. Sorry Mom!

Am I paying attention to those little guys not on Instagram? 
I travel a lot. Social media offers a world of recommendations from locals and Instagram is an excellent resource to find yourself immersed in a world of the best in food. Sometimes though, I’m all ‘if they're not on Insta, I don’t want to hear about it’ and it really removes the spontaneity of exploring with your eyes open. When I’m too focused on the famous and not searching for the local, it can actually start to feel like a job instead of a holiday. 

Am I creating an illusion / where are all the fat people? 
Am I supposed to believe that every influencer on Insta has their cake and eats it too? I’m so happy that your healthy lifestyle and dedication to your personal good looks keeps you thin, but there’s no way most of these people are eating what they are posting. They are luring us into a false sense of reality with which we are trying to compete. How can we trust them? We can’t. OK, we can still love on our favourite posts, but remember there’s a little fairy dust and magic in the media. Be cool, do your own thing and save time by sharing authentic photos of your favourite foods by not having to make such a big effort.

At this point, I’m unlikely to change my habits completely, but for my mom, everyone else, and myself, I’ll take baby steps to ensure the people around me are hanging out with me and not some alter ego robot version of me. 

P.S. Mom, it’s also my job, people get paid for posting pictures on the internet! What a world. 

ALSO READ: Instagram has a new food obsession and you need to try it

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