His last crop of movies may have been stinkers (The House anyone?), but Will Ferrell can still bring the funny, particularly when he portrays a stiff suburban dad bubbling with stress. Case in point: the new Common Sense Media video series where he plays a deadbeat dad who can’t put his phone down at dinner.
Part of Common Sense Media’s “#DeviceFreeDinner” campaign the ad shows just how frustrating it is to be around someone who’s lost in a screen. For most of the video, Ferrell’s family laments at the dinner table how much they miss their dad before it’s revealed he’s right there with them – distracted by cat filters. In the other videos for the campaign, the actor is so distracted that he confuses his daughter for his son, and leaving his phone in a basket becomes a major challenge.
The campaign follows new data published by Common Sense that indicates a massive, even disturbing rise in screen time among kids. A recent study found that for children between the ages of 0 and 8, the average amount of time spent with media and mobile devices has increased nearly ten times since 2011. Now, nearly all children age 8 and under live in a home with some type of mobile device, and the number of children who have their own tablet devices is up to 42 percent in 2017, from just 1 percent in 2011.
Bringing levity to this explosion of screen use is a good way to remind families that spending face-to-face time with one another is especially important. And that Ferrell’s still got it.