CNN

Maria Shriver wants us all to stop scrolling and to start talking

Oct 25, 2019, 11:44 AM | Updated: 12:00 pm
maria shriver...
Photo: Getty Images

(CNN) — When Maria Shriver hosts dinner for her family every Sunday, she has one rule — no phones at the table.

All the scrolling, she says, is just a distraction from having to actually look each other in the eye and have a conversation about how we’re really feeling. And it’s making us sick.

“People can sit down and find common subjects, find common ground,” Shriver tells CNN, adding, “I’m a big believer that we’re in desperate need as a country to find things that we can talk about, then we can listen and form relationships. Everybody’s obsessed with their phone. Loneliness, anxiety, depression, trauma, all these things, I think, is coming from the lack of talking.”

Maria Shriver

When Maria Shriver hosts dinner for her family every Sunday, she has one rule — no phones at the table. She wants to get people talking. Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

The journalist, author and mom to Christina, Patrick, Christopher and Katherine Schwarzenegger, who she shares with ex-husband Arnold Schwarzenegger, has been including conversation starters in her newsletter for a couple of years, and says “there’s no substitute for the human connection.”

“I get in an elevator and people don’t even look up,” she says. “There’s no denying that is all coinciding with these epidemics of anxiety and loneliness across generations. We’re technically connected, but we’re not connected.”

She wants to get people talking, to gain back what we’ve lost in the age of TikTok and Instagram. Shiver even signed up with Ancestry, the massive family history and genealogy company, in order to spread the word about face-to-face conversation. The company was working on a campaign to “spark meaningful conversations” because they discovered many people are avoiding going home for the holidays, mostly due to fighting over politics, and they reached out to her. Shriver jumped at the chance to team up.

“I think we have real mental health challenges due to our lack of connection,” she says. “[Talking] makes me feel understood, makes me feel I’m looking at someone and I’m finding common ground. I’m hearing them, I’m listening to how they got to where they are. And I think I’m having a shared experience. So to promote that at a company that big, I was like, yeah I’m trying to do that too.”

Having meaningful conversations at home can help us all, she says, and with her own children, she reminds them often that family is everything and that social media is not.

“My guidance is, you know, these are your siblings are what’s real is this,” she says she tells each of her kids. “So let’s keep our eye on what’s real. Let’s have a life of faith. Let’s have a life with purpose. Let’s find something. I always say to them, you have to do something. You don’t have to work with what I’m working with or what your dad’s working with, but you have to find some way to be of service. That’s real. And they listened to that.”

Shriver also stressed the importance of manners during a time when no one’s even making eye contact anymore.

“I’m big on that,” she says. “When you go to someone’s house, call and thank the parents. Write a note, stand up when the parents come in the room, bring something. It’s polite to look people in the eye, shake your hand. I just always say if you go up to a person my age, reintroduce yourself all the time.”

While Shriver tries to instill manners, she accepts that she can’t keep her family off social media. But when they return home for visits, she is a stickler about her no phone at the table rule — and that includes new son-in-law Chris Pratt.

“They know when they come for Sunday dinner, they don’t have the phone,” she says. “It’s down in the kitchen. And if I see it, I say ‘phone’ and they put it away.”

Shriver says she will continue to talk more about human connection and what she’s hoping to accomplish in her weekly newsletter, “The Sunday Paper.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories

CNN

lindsay lohan is pictured in a Santa outfit pouring milk into a glass of pepsi...
Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN Business

Pepsi wants you to drink soda mixed with milk this holiday season

To make the campaign even trendier, Pepsi tapped Lindsay Lohan, star of the Netflix Christmas movie "Falling for Christmas," to promote the combination.
16 hours ago
A US Soccer spokesperson told CNN in an email that Pulisic, who collided with the Iranian goalkeepe...
Kevin Dotson and Matias Grez, CNN

Christian Pulisic is day-to-day after being taken to hospital with pelvic contusion suffered scoring winning goal for US

A US Soccer spokesperson told CNN in an email that Pulisic, who collided with the Iranian goalkeeper after scoring his goal, went for medical scans but "was not hospitalized."
2 days ago
USGS posted two photos on Monday from a Civil Air Patrol flight which shows the Mauna Loa volcano e...
Chandler Holt

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa is erupting for the first time since 1984

The world's largest active volcano, Mauna Loa on Hawaii, is erupting for the first time in nearly 40 years. Though lava is flowing down one side of the volcano, the eruption in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is not threatening communities.
3 days ago
Flowers and stuffed animals are lined up outside a sign along Pullman Road in Moscow, Idaho, to pay...
Elizabeth Wolfe and Eric Levenson

University of Idaho students return from break, no arrests in homicides

After more than two weeks since four students were fatally stabbed, students at the University of Idaho returned to class on Monday.
3 days ago
Former Vice President Mike Pence is seen here with audience members after appearing at at CNN town ...
Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

Pence says Trump was ‘wrong’ for dinner with Holocaust denier

Former Vice President Mike Pence says former President Donald Trump was wrong for having dinner with a Holocaust denier and should apologize for it.
3 days ago
In this image provided by NASA, the Earth and its moon are seen from NASA's Orion spacecraft on Mon...
Jackie Wattles, CNN

NASA’s Orion reaches record-breaking distance from Earth

NASA confirmed that Orion had reached the midpoint of its uncrewed mission around the moon — about 270,000 miles (434,523 kilometers) from Earth.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Maria Shriver wants us all to stop scrolling and to start talking