Computers replace kitchen table as focal point of meals

People are more likely to have meals sitting at the computer than at the kitchen table, and they use social media as the main avenue to obtain recipe and nutritional information.

"I sought to investigate how the explosion of new media is changing traditional notions of meals and how this is transforming human interaction," said Madeline Varno, senior communications major at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) who led the study.

"As opposed to their parents or grandparents, college students do not see meals as a central activity. In fact, none of the respondents I interviewed even had a kitchen table."
Varno conducted an extensive survey of college students at RIT, how meals were prepared and eaten, how students interacted with others during meals and how they obtained information about nutrition, according to a Rochester statement.

"Eating is now just one of several activities being multitasked at once, all of which generally involve computers and smartphones, including surfing the web, communicating with friends via Facebook and doing homework," she says.  Varno also found that people were more likely to ask friends on Facebook or Twitter about recipes than consult a cookbook and often used social media to assess the relevance and validity of food and nutrition information.

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