Dinner parties where you get to chat with old friends and make new ones, family meals where you catch up on what everyone has been doing that day..... having meals together and talking has been shown over and over again to be really important for a child's healthy development.
Talking on the phone is different. But then that's a different kind of conversation altogether.
Without a doubt. Every social gathering (where you are expected to chat) involves food. As a matter of fact, thats why the family table is so important. This is one of the best times for families to talk about what is happening in a relaxed way.
Family meal times, or even with friends, is a great time to catch up on what's been happening. I ban phones at the table as it's the height of bad manners to have a phone conversation, or check Facebook, when dining with others.
I'd rather eat 1st, if it's a main meal & then talk, otherwise my meal gets cold, but I find I'm talking anyway, so I end up with a cold meal! Ugh! So perhaps I'm talking too much, & not letting the other person or people talk. (One of my bad habits I think!)