Study: Families Who Eat Meals at the Table Together Miss Out on Quality Television Time

SASKATOON, SK – Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan’s Family Studies and Gerontology Department have released a new report describing the differences between families who eat meals at the table and those who do not. Of these differences, the most impact to overall satisfaction with family life and quality of life was that families who eat meals at the table together miss the largest percentage of quality network and streaming television than any other demographic in Canada.

“Compared to their single or co-ed counterparts, parents with children who practice the daily habit of eating meals at the table with their families in a distraction-free environment face huge deficits in the amount of solid, high value entertainment that is available on prime time or their choice of streaming services,” says Dr. Chelsea Hubic, a PhD in Psychology and a family counsellor of over 20 years.

“This phenomenon was not just observed in ‘regular’ families, for the lack of a better term. Every single family who ate at the table scored the lowest in terms of television per day watched. Whether they be LGBTQ couples raising children, blended families, families of all races living in Canada, families of varying religions, these and other factors did not matter in the context of our observations. So long as the family in question ate their meals together and used that time to bond with one another, they were squandering that time they could have been using to catch up on the latest prime time dramas, sitcoms, reality television, and even game shows that are available with just the press of a button.”

While it is a common misconception that eating meals at the dinner table and missing a couple of episodes of a TV show is no big deal, Dr. Hubic begs to differ. She warns Canadians not to fall into this way of thinking.

“You might not think it’s the end of the world if your child misses out on a few hours of TV every night, but each night your child misses, they step one rung lower on the social ladder. What is going to happen when they get into middle school, high school, and then out into the world? How are they supposed to get jobs and fulfilling relationships if they don’t even know who the Lannisters are, or the significance of the episode Fly from Breaking Bad? Would you hire someone who doesn’t know what, ‘I’ve made a huge mistake’ is from? I wouldn’t, that’s for sure.”

Dr. Hubic encourages that all families invest in enough TV trays for all members so that meals can be eaten in front of the TV. She also recommends that several hours are set aside each evening for watching television both alone and with family members. Preliminary variables of this study also suggest that families who consume a high volume of beer together while watching television report a higher level of satisfaction with their family lives.

The study will be ongoing for the remainder of 2020. Retesting is set to begin in 2021 when Ozark returns to Netflix. After the completion of this study, Dr. Hubic and her team anticipate studying early bedtimes for school-aged children and its detrimental effects on Fortnite scores.