Jay Verkler, CEO of FamilySearch International, noted in his talk at RootsTech, that he and his wife don’t allow any “virtual” talk at the dinner table in their home. He explained that video games are pretty big in their children’s lives, but at the dinner table they are not allowed to talk about video games, the latest YouTube videos, or whatever the popular must-see “viral” item on the internet is. I assume this also means none of the other meaning of “virtual talk” as well: no texting, IMing, or updating your Facebook status at the dinner table.

That proves to be an excellent rule, as we should guard family dinner time as if it were something sacred. Not that dinner itself is sacred, but because as Elder Oaks said in 2007:

The number of those who report that their “whole family usually eats dinner together” has declined 33 percent. This is most concerning because the time a family spends together “eating meals at home [is] the strongest predictor of children’s academic achievement and psychological adjustment.” Family mealtimes have also been shown to be a strong bulwark against children’s smoking, drinking, or using drugs. There is inspired wisdom in this advice to parents: what your children really want for dinner is you. (Dallin H. Oaks: Good, Better, Best, General Conference, Oct. 2007)

If dinner is filled with talk of virtual things, and/or everyone is glued to their virtual device while they eat, it’s not really eating dinner “together,” is it?

Let us know if you’ve had experience with similar rules, or what your thoughts on this are, in the comments below.