The arbiters of social etiquette from Debretts may choke on their turkey with the news that millions of Brits planned to use their mobiles at the Christmas dinner table.  New research from Direct Line Home Insurance reveals 9.9 million people planned to use their mobile at the Christmas dinner table, swapping face time with family for games and screen time with faraway friends.

Despite Debrett’s assertion “mobiles should be put away at the dining table2” 3.8 million people planned to use messaging apps during Christmas dinner and more than 3.2 million planned to use social media when tucking into their turkey. Surprisingly more than three million people will interrupt Christmas dinner to make a phone call – the opposite of what social etiquette demands, Debrett’s recommends “calls should only be taken, away from the table, in exceptional circumstances.”

People will be searching under virtual mistletoe for love this year, with almost a million (914,000) people planning to use dating apps while at the dinner table. The research from Direct Line also shows that people are looking to share their Christmas dinners online as more than 6.5 million people plan to post pictures of their festive food on social media.

The art of conversation has been truly lost in some households as 2.5 million people are planning to play games or watch videos while eating and 1.1 million are planning on getting a jump on the Boxing Day sale crowds by doing their shopping at the dining table.  This behaviour may explain why around 6.4 million have been moaned at or told off in the past for using their mobile phone on Christmas day.

Katie Lomas, head of Direct Line Home Insurance, commented: “Mobile phones are now viewed by many as an essential extension of themselves. We go to them for information, entertainment, communication and commerce. So it’s not a surprise many of us bring ours to Christmas dinner to share photos with friends and family who are unable to be with us.

“If you are without your phone it can feel like you’re missing out, especially at Christmas as you want to see what your friends and family are up to. That’s why our home insurance customers who do lose or damage their phones can get a direct replacement or some money to buy a new one.”

Christmas is a time for giving and expressing thankfulness and while three million people are planning to share presents online to show gratitude, appreciation is not always top of mind. Almost 2.7 million intend to share pictures of their presents online to show off.  While an ungrateful two million plan to present shame, showcasing unwanted gifts online. Additionally, 1.9 million plan to use the internet to post unwanted presents for sale.