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Show others you care about them

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Denton Record-Chronicle Editorial

Did you wake up with a list of New Year's resolutions on your bedside table?

You're gonna stop drinking and/or stop smoking.

You're gonna dump toxic relationships and make new friends.

You're gonna exercise and lose weight.

Those are all solid goals, but there is one resolution we care about more than all the others: We resolve to spend less time on social media.

Chances are your holiday gathering with family included at least one person whose head was down, eyes pointed at the cellphone in their lap. Their thumbs were flying during Christmas dinner or while the family gathered around the tree for the gift exchange.

Some family members scowled at the offender and thought to themselves, "I would like to take that phone and put it where the sun don't shine."

The smartphone has replaced the television screen as the socially inept person's go-to device for avoiding human contact. Enjoy conversation? Don't think so. Rather scroll through the old Facebook "news feed" to look at photos of dishes that "friends" are eating on Christmas Day. Can't miss today's political screeds that regurgitate yesterday's political screeds.

When you boil it down, much of daily life is about using good etiquette, avoiding rudeness and caring about those around you.

In days gone by, when families gathered at the dining table, Mom or Dad looked at the kids and said, "Hey, chew with your mouth closed," or "Hey, get your face out of your plate and sit up straight." This is how we learned good manners.

Now, the time has come to call out the offenders even though they may no longer be children. "Hey, Dad, I thought we got together today to visit, not stare at our phones. Put it up, please."

Does this all sound too old-fashioned and quaint? Out of touch with 2018? Maybe so. But there were some good things about the 1950s.

The television had three channels and there were no smartphones.

Customers at department stores or restaurants approached the cash register and greeted the clerk with a smile and a friendly comment. Today, customers approach the register while chatting on the phone, never even acknowledging the clerk's existence. Or the clerk is on his phone and never makes eye contact with the customer paying the bill.

Here's a New Year's Day experiment you can try. If you leave the house today, don't take your phone with you. We promise it won't kill you. The food photos can wait.