not that i do this, but i was just wondering.
I honestly don't think it's rude in all settings. I think it depends on who you're having the meal with, and what the meal means to the people you're eating it with. In a lot of occasions, a lot of people would be completely fine with it. In others, however, they would not.
While I was growing up, supper was considered 'family time'. This is a time which my parents like to keep for us, where we could bond and talk about things. They wouldn't like us on the phone, or distracted otherwise. Right now, however, we don't do that anymore. We don't sit down for meals together often, and if we do, it's kind of a mixed thing. Some of us talk, some of us get distracted. My family is completely fine with it now. We don't consider it rude -- we just accept that everyone likes doing their own thing.
When one puts a book or paper in front of them it is saying don't bother me. It shuts people out. It says, "You are not interested in them, and don't want people to be interested in you." What a shame "Not Interested In You".
It's a shame families don't communicate to one another at meal time, because that will carry over into later life, exclusion.
Have you ever seen couples walk down the street, or in a mall, one ahead of the other, they're not together, they're separate. They probably don't communicate at all when at home or eating, unless it is something they want from the other. Have you ever thought what the sex life was like......ugh ugh ugh! No communication.
When you are sitting at a dinner table its rude to read a book or some other material because you are not the only person at the table. You are supposed to be sharing a meal with others and occasionally even holding conversation and socializing. If your sitting there reading a book then your shutting yourself off from the rest of the guest at the table and not offering them the opportunity to socialize with you.
Yea, I have to agree it is rude to behave like that during dinner. Guilty as charged too many times to count, i just lose focus and sometimes get bored with the conversation that I end up hurting someones feelings in the process. Oh well, at least I admit to it and have tried to do a better job since:D
It's considered rude because you are zoning yourself away from everything else, and not paying attention to the people around you. You don't necessarily have to talk.. but you shouldn't be in your own little world while you have other people with you.
I think it is because you should be speaking to the people around you at the time when you are all together and it is a family time, although many people don't bother anymore, its a nice time to talk, you have the rest of the night to read :)
because it's antisocial and you'd probably be ignoring the other people at the table which would be rude.