Pope Francis has encouraged families to take some time away from their digital devices over meal times in favour of face to face conversations, citing Jesus, Mary and Joseph as prime examples.
Speaking on the feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth Sunday at St Peter's Square, the pontiff explained how the "Holy Family" modelled a gospel centred life as they "prayed, worked and communicated with each other."
"We need to retake communication within the family: parents, children, grandparents and siblings must communicate with each other," he added.
Pope Francis went on to say that Jesus, Mary and Joseph represented a "choral response to the will of the Father" as they helped one another to "discover and carry out God's plan."
He stressed the importance of "protecting" and "supporting" the family structure and advised families to prioritise an open dialogue within the home.
"In your family, do you know how to communicate with each other, or are you like those kids at the table -- each one has their own cell phone, chatting? In that table there is a silence as if they were at Mass, but they don't communicate with each other," he said.
The pope pointed to Mary as an example of one who demonstrated an openness and willingness to hear for God, saying "Mary silently meditates, reflects and worships the divine initiative. Her presence at the foot of the cross consecrates this total availability".
This is not the first time the Pontiff has warned against the dangers of excessive smartphone use, speaking at Rome's Visconti High School in April, Francis told students "phones are for connecting - life is for communicating! Free yourself from the addiction to mobile phones... when you become a slave to your mobile phone, you will lose your freedom".