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.”

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


Photo credit: Canva...
Simone Seikaly

How to stay calm and focused in any emergency, large or small

Whether the emergency is a power outage or an earthquake, preparedness and communication will help keep your mind calm and focused.
5 months ago
Connerjack Oswalt was found in Park City, Utah after being missing from California years ago. (CNN)...
Curt Gresseth

Missing three years, autistic teen found in Park City

An autistic teen missing from northern California since 2019 was found by sheriff's deputies in Summit County, Utah. He has since been reunited with his stepfather.
6 months ago
more school resources, temporary school shutdown, midvale schools water main break...
Waverly Golden

Draper officials oppose creation of a new school district

The Mayor and City Council of Draper oppose local residents pursuing new school district.
6 months ago
At 97 years, seven months and six days, President Russell M. Nelson is the oldest church president ...
Mark Jones

President Nelson is now the oldest president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

President Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on Thursday, became the oldest church president at 97 years, seven months and six days.
6 months ago
free national park program not used as much by colored families versus white families...
Waverly Golden

Free national park program not used by families of color

A BYU study found white families of fourth graders use a free pass to any national park more often than their people of color counterparts.
6 months ago
Picture of Diamond the French Bulldog, pet theft...
Chandler Holt

Murray woman’s puppy stolen out of her yard

Yasmin Bazan had her French bulldog puppy taken from her yard right in front of her. Pet theft for re-selling is more prevalent than one might think.
6 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Prescription opioid...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.

Tax Tuesday: Key Information Before the Filing Deadline

Businesses can receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee in 2020 and up to $21,000 per employee in 2021.
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Maria Shriver wants us all to stop scrolling and to start talking