09/24/2013 05:05 pm ET Updated Nov 24, 2013

Let's Take the Phone Stacking Game One Step Further: Ban the Meal Shot


I wrote about the 10 rules I would make for all parents if I were queen in the past. Now, my subjects, if I were queen, I'd ban the practice of taking pictures of our newly-arrived meals, too.

Firstly, I applaud the recent phone stacking game where diners stack their phones in the center of the table and whoever touches theirs first pays the bill. It brings to mind another pastime that I would like to see storm the nation called the "Don't take a picture of your meal" game. Don't get me wrong, I love food. I love cooking. I love nothing more than the beauty of a well-plated meal. I love ogling pictures in cookbooks and I even love posting pictures on Instagram. But believe me when I tell you that no matter how hungry or excited you are about what you're about to post on Instagram and Facebook, it NEVER looks as good to anyone else as it does to you.

Unless you're an on-call doctor or food professional, pulling out your cell phone during a meal with family, co-workers, friends and especially kids, at home or a restaurant, pierces the sanctity of mealtime or, as I like to think of it, the-invisible-ceremonial-dome-under-which-humankind-forges-civilization.

The problem is simply that technology is new and exciting and we are still totally loose with it. We're going after everything that moves, just like they did in the '60s and '70s after the Pill was invented. Let's make mealtime where we draw the line.

A couple of weeks ago, my girlfriends and I took our kids to dinner. Her daughter took out her phone when the menu arrived to tell me about a great linguine that she had the week before and she just had to show me a picture of it. Ew. I seriously look forward to the day when the widely -accepted practice of having phones anywhere near meals, never mind taking pictures, is looked upon as repugnant as picking one's nose, scratching one's balls or chain smoking in public.

When I was a kid, we used to play a game called hot lava and only be allowed to step on the sidewalk cracks. If only we could project the same sense of hot lava-ness to our phones during meal time -- that our shiny mobile devices glowed Radioactive Agent Clockwork Orange so that and it nauseated and repelled everyone in the vicinity of tables, restaurants and freshly-prepared food. That also includes when children (and even adults) attempt to describe something but can't seem to without insisting on showing a video or a picture on Instagram instead. This makes what we're taught in Kindergarten -- "Use your words!"-- take on a whole new meaning. But that is another rant altogether.

Kimberly Brooks is an artist and mother raising teenagers in a digital world.