Paper Monitor: Dining table talk

Canine banquet
Image caption Even dogs can be better behaved at the table

The Daily Telegraph letter writers are at it again. They are perplexed about a particularly difficult problem.

The nature of the problem? Phone etiquette at the dining table.

The subject was first raised by Alan Hall, from Good Easter, Essex, on 21 June.

"SIR - I am amazed at the number of friends and family who sit at the dining table gazing at their mobile phone to check if they have received an email or text message. Can anyone recommend a solution, short of dunking the offending item in the custard?" he wrote.

The assumptions being a) Telegraph readers eat at "dining" tables b) they eat a lot of custard.

Assumptions aside, nearly a week on, readers are still suggesting their solutions.

Hilary Jarrett, from Norwich, thinks the simple answer is for phones to be classified as toys:

SIR - Alan Hall should insist on my "no toys at the table" rule, which I instigated 30 years ago and have in place to this day for both my husband and my now adult children.

Peter Rosie, of Ringwood, Hampshire, seems to be on the same wavelength - adding a sense of drama to the proceedings:

SIR - I make my children place their mobiles in a tub by the dining room door, likening the process to removing one's guns before eating, as in the Wild West. It seems to humour them.

But for Lewis Darke, of Ovingham, Northumberland, there's a more practical fix.

SIR - At school I use a signal-jammer with a range of 30 metres to prevent "phone-fiddling" and to ensure full concentration in class. I am sure a similar thing would work for Mr Hall's dinner parties.

The lesson seems to be simple. Only by treating dinner party guests like children will phones be banished from the table.

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