Will Ferrell wants you to get off your phone at dinner time

Will Ferrell for Common Sense Media #DeviceFreeDinner campaign
Will Ferrell for Common Sense Media #DeviceFreeDinner campaign 

Is your dinner table a haven of family talks and pleasant meal-time chat about your day, or are people distracted by their phones? Sure, we all want our teens to spend less time on their phones, but are we setting the right example?

Will Ferrell has starred in a series of public service announcements encouraging parents to look at the way they use their phones. After all, we're not totally innocent ourselves, are we? And we're the ones setting an example for the rest of the family.

The series of darkly humorous videos sees Will playing a phone-addicted father who ignores his wife and kids at the dinner table, preferring to interact on social media instead. Yes, the whole thing is an exaggeration, of course, but it also could strike a chord for many.

The videos were commissioned by Common Sense Media and, although they feature a dad behaving badly, they are intended to be a reminder to all family members.

"It's no fun to show someone disciplining a kid, but disciplining a parent who happens to be played by a famous comedian? Major fun," said Jeff Goodby, founder and chairman of Goodby Silverstein & Partners, who produced the films.

Partner and chief creative officer Margaret Johnson said, "We know that kids who have dinners at the table without devices get better grades, have healthier eating habits and are more socialised than kids who have devices at the table. So we enlisted some celebrity help to show the importance of having device-free dinners."

Will worked for free to shoot the videos, and said that he and his wife Viveca, "are focused on putting down devices and sharing quality time together".

So if you recognise a little bit of yourself in Will Ferrell's dad character, perhaps it's time to put down that phone at dinner time.