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ipads / phones at the dinner table

(21 Posts)
Alligatorpie Wed 10-Apr-13 07:56:19

Inspired by the children running around in restaurants thread.

We live in the Middle east where kids start getting phones / pads very young (4 or 5). It is very common to see young children in restaurants playing games on them.

At home, we do not answer phones or texts, tv is off and conversation is encouraged during dinner.
Dd1 is 7 and is ok with this but, we often eat in restaurants with other families we know, who allow / encourage pads and phones. I encourage dd to bring sticker books, word puzzles etc to share with the other children, but she often sat watching other children play games because I will not allow her to bring my ipad to a restaurant. Some children are receptive to her games, others aren't.

AIBU? Should I allow her to bring the ipad and chalk it up to cultural differences? Dh thinks I should, but I feel there is no point socializing with her friends ( and their parents - some who I like, some I can take or leave) if everyone is doing their own thing. Obviously I am the mean mommy. WWYD?

ChompieMum Wed 10-Apr-13 08:01:33

I must say I find the IPad a very useful tool when I am trying to get some peace. Probably not a very earth Mum answer but I would let her have it so she doesn't feel left out but maybe put some educational games on it. Would also try to make sure she does not get it until after she has eaten and that she sees it as a treat to be allowed it at the table.

LadybirdsAreFab Wed 10-Apr-13 08:04:26

Hi, we also live in the Middle East and we do not allow it at all. I also ask DH not to have his phone on the table.

My opinion is that she needs to learn to be social, head in phone/pad is not socialising. She is 4.

The only time I allow it is when she is the only child and even then the adults usually spend time talking/playing with her.

Sirzy Wed 10-Apr-13 08:08:31

In a restaurant then I have no problem with it before the food arrives as long as things go away when food arrives. DS normally takes toys and books but sometimes wants his leappad or my phone

Calabria Wed 10-Apr-13 08:10:16

If she is the only child present, which is very common, then she is allowed to play on my iPhone or her iPad. But only until the food comes and only if she doesn't go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about Minecraft.

Alligatorpie Wed 10-Apr-13 08:11:03

Dd1 is often the only child amongst adults (dd2 is 10 months). We dont have many expat friends with children her age, so we socialize a lot with single people or childless couples. Most of her friends are local.
I would never allow an ipad if she was the only child, she needs to learn to socialse with other people who usually colour or play or interact with her in some way.

HollyBerryBush Wed 10-Apr-13 08:11:18

I don't see the difference to a book or kindle. Same thing different method. Ditto, colouring books are the same as a game. It's clearly about stopping the child from getting bored.

I frequently have an evening meal out with a colleague who has a 6yo. In all honesty, it's a blessed relief to plug him into something as he is rather demanding of constant attention and has that whiney pitch that makes me want to skewer him with the dinner fork. Impossible to have any form of adult to adult conversation when he is in the same room as he just has to be the centre of everyones attention.

Once they are old enough to sit there with manners and be quiet, I'd say no phones or gadgets.

Alligatorpie Wed 10-Apr-13 08:12:39

I feel your pain Calabria. I get that with barbie dressing up apps. Then she takes pictures and emails them to me.

For some reason it is a step too far for me. Dc can colour/draw etc at the table but I will not allow them to be 'plugged into' anything.
If I'm honest I do look down my nose a bit at parents whose children can't be entertained for 15 mins in a restaurant without being on something electrical <pulls on flameproof pants>
Don't get me wrong, my dc have DS and Wii at home and access to my iPad (for the few mins a day I'm not on it wink) but NEVER in a restaurant.
I'm not sure about cultural differences but your dc, your rules and if you say no then that's fair enough. I wouldn't do it.

Alligatorpie Wed 10-Apr-13 08:17:19

It is the fact that all the other parents think it's ok. She is the odd one out (i don't have an iPhone to give her on short notice) i think she should be interacting with her friends, and not stuck on the ipad.
Holly i agree it is a distraction, but the kids can use a sticker book together, whereas ipads are not good for sharing.

Calabria...oh I also feel your pain. DH and I have banned chatting about minecraft to us smile. We try and show an interest in all their stuff but there is only so much minecraft we can take, dc are obsessed with it at the moment.

Alligatorpie Wed 10-Apr-13 08:19:16

Daffodils - i feel the same way. But i have her complaining and dh agreeing with her. Maybe i am too strict.

sommewhereelse Wed 10-Apr-13 08:27:07

Alligator, I feel the same about mealtimes although we're a bit behind the times so for us its the DS which is banned. I also don't approve of reading at the table for the same reason although we make an exception for breakfast on the weekends. The larks chat merrily while the owls bury their noses in a book and try to pretend that no one else exists.

currentbuns Wed 10-Apr-13 08:29:18

Oh God, Minecraft! Poor ds is forever trying to engage me in detailed discussions about it and I really struggle to show any interest whatsoever... or to conceal my utter utter utter boredom.

Asinine Wed 10-Apr-13 08:36:52

No electronics,phones, tv during meals in our house for adults or children. In my opinion eating out or eating with friends shoud be an entertainment in itself. Our dcs would not expect to play on iPads during a meal, even if other peoples dcs were. If they are not distracted by screens they will learn how to enjoy conversation at the table and feel part of the event.

Calabria Wed 10-Apr-13 08:41:23

There was a typo in my previous comment. She has an iPod not an iPad, much as she'd like one! grin

I had to ban iPhones at the dinner table at home. We feed a friend most nights and he and my husband would sit there ignoring me and DD at supper. Drove me nuts! I asked the friend why one day and he said he was bored. I suggested he either go home or start a conversation. blush

Alligatorpie Wed 10-Apr-13 08:43:09

Good for you Calabria!

Hulababy Wed 10-Apr-13 08:45:54

At home - never allowed.

Now DD is older (11y) - never allowed anywhere.

With smaller children - it depends when out on where we are, how long we are there for and who else is present. If it is longer meal and adults are all chatting over extended coffee, then yes - it's boring for a little child and they can start to play up. So I would possibly offer my phone and some games, on silent, to keep them occupied and quiet. I'd rather that than a child walking around a restaurant.

When DD was smaller we took little books, colouring, small toys, etc to occupy her. Realistically playing a game on a phone is no different to this.

If there are other children present then wherever possible I would encourage them to interact and talk, colour together. But it would need to be a joint activity - so books would be out as much as a phone game would be.

Taffeta Wed 10-Apr-13 08:51:46

For the first time this Easter we were having dinner at a hotel and I let the DC (9 and 6 ) use the ipad. 3 things of interest happened:

- there was another family at the next table. Their son came over and joined the DC showing them some "cool blades" on fruit ninja. They liked this v much.
- The mother was using her iPhone to read a bedtime story to her youngest.
- they got overexcited and spilled my red wine on the ipad. Bad. Ipad OK, wine lost. sad

Not sure if we will repeat.

Alligatorpie Wed 10-Apr-13 09:05:04

Ouch red wine! What a waste! i have to say I love my ipad a whole lot less since sil dropped it on the tile floor while I was in labour. It has a crack from one corner across to the other.
So I am not worried about it being damaged. As soon as i go back to work after mat leave, i am replacing it and dd1 will get it.

KellyElly Wed 10-Apr-13 11:28:07

Is she is often the only child amongst adults then I don't see the harm. Books, stickers, colouring, ipad - end of the day they are all things to keep a child occupied who would most likely be bored with the adult conversation. If you don't want to get an ipad get a LeapPad or whatever console is suitable for her age and fill it with educational games and stories. Then there really is no difference.

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