To not like seeing toddlers on iPads/iphones in restaurants?

(257 Posts)
BlackberriesAhoy Mon 02-Sep-13 08:51:02

My first Aibu so I'm wearing flame retardant pants.

My dc are now past the needing entertaining at the table stage (thank jeff for that) but when they were younger (they are both still at primary school now so not ancient) we made the decision to not have electronic devices in restaurants. We took crayons, paper, a small box of Lego, games etc with us.

Please don't think I'm a pious non-electrical device using git. Dc would spend all day if possible on minecraft. They have DSs which they use on long journeys but a restaurant IMO is not the place for electronic stuff.

A few weeks ago we were at pizza express and a couple and their toddler were there. The parents alternately (and at one time both) sat using their phones at the table (texting etc) while their bored toddler roamed about the restaurant. Are we going to be raising children who cannot just sit around a table a eat/talk/entertain themselves without being plugged into something if we let them use iPads etc when out eating?

I remember the hell of taking toddlers out, I do understand but still...

MrsOakenshield Wed 04-Sep-13 22:01:13

to be honest forthill, I can't answer your question as neither DH nor I have an iPhone/iPad/any other portable device of this kind - so if DD was going to have a meltdown we would have to deal with it without recourse to any of these (I would take her outside to calm down, and if she didn't we would leave. Hasn't happened yet, touch wood). Digital camera - not sure about this, as I don't tend to carry this about with me either, but in theory - I should think it's OK, it's not the same, though, to me at any rate.

I'm not against people using these things, btw, I am simply commenting that I know of adults who can't seem to function without being on them almost constantly, which I think is rude, and I do know of one mum whose toddler son does seem to be glued to her iPhone quite a lot, which personally I don't like (not that it's my business, of course).

forthill Wed 04-Sep-13 15:32:37

We're on the same page then!

I wasn't thinking of books; just equating photos on a digital camera with a loose collection of printed photos.

Crowler Wed 04-Sep-13 15:25:02

forthill it seems that you're suggesting that ipad=iphone=digital camera=book so ipad=book. I'm not sure I agree with that.

I'm not opposed to getting some peace from a toddler in a restaurant by way of an ipad, by the way.

forthill Wed 04-Sep-13 15:22:46

P.S. I would be interested to receive a reply to the question above.

Nobody responded to my previous question about whether as a parent you would opt to inflict a toddler meltdown on fellow diners in a restaurant in favour of distracting the child with an iPad.

forthill Wed 04-Sep-13 15:20:51

Mrs Oakenshield - I will rephrase my question without using the word heinous.

If it is frowned upon to distract toddlers with iPads and iPhones in restaurants, does that also apply to digital cameras?

And if it's the case that it's bad to let toddlers scroll through photos on a digital camera, is it also bad to let them leaf through a collection of printed photos?

If not, what's the difference?

ToysRLuv Wed 04-Sep-13 15:18:05

grin @Napa

NapaCab Wed 04-Sep-13 15:14:31

As the parent of a toddler you just can't win, can you? If you let your toddler run around the restaurant, make noise or shout or distract any judgy MN-er one, you're a bad parent. If you use an iPad to entertain the toddler, you're a lazy parent. So really you're only acceptable in society if your DC is quiet, passive and happy to sit engaged in simple, olde worlde crafty things for an hour at a time.

In an ideal world all children would be quiet while their parents help them make origami models of fruit and vegetables at the table. In the real world, toddlers have 5 minute attention spans and can be very loud and disruptive at times so as a parent, I'll do whatever it takes!

For older children who can actually have a conversation with their parents and pay attention for longer than 2 minutes, then you might have a point OP.

SoupDragon Wed 04-Sep-13 15:01:17

It is the general feeling as people are fine with children being entertained via pencil and paper or handbags full of toys and Lego but anything electronic is bad.

MrsOakenshield Wed 04-Sep-13 14:48:09

where has anyone said that 'iPads and iPhones are heinous'? I don't remember reading that.

forthill Wed 04-Sep-13 12:15:27

Sorry, I meant digital camera, not digital phone...

forthill Wed 04-Sep-13 12:14:35

OK, I have a question.
If iPads and iPhones are heinous, does that also apply to digital cameras?

And if it's the case that it's bad to let a toddler scroll through photos on a digital phone, is it also bad to let them leaf through a collection of printed photos?

If not, what's the difference?

baddriver Wed 04-Sep-13 08:33:06

It's actually the grown ups snapping selfies and boring everyone at the table with snaps on their phones that piss me off. Don't get me started on those photographing their meals. Really

A couple of weeks ago we went for a family meal in a gastropub. After a short while with crayons, DS(2) wanted to "play drawing on your phone mummy". So for the seemingly interminable period between then and our food arriving, he played on a drawing app. He showed me what he was drawing occasionally, told me about the colours and shapes, and so forth.

Another family came in - another 2yo with two grandparents and their two friends from overseas. The grandmother could be heard arriving quite a long time before we saw her, and when she arrived she pointed out DS to her DGS and said "look, that little boy is colouring nicely" to get him to sit down and get involved in crayons.

Her patronising braying (inaccurately translating the menu for her guests, telling DGS off every ten seconds for going over the lines or using the wrong colour, ordering for everyone regardless of what they'd said they'd like) completely drowned out our conversation.

So I was amused when she looked over at us again and sniffed "oh well I thought the little boy was colouring". Because I know we were behaving better than she was, and it wasn't my 2yo who had a complete meltdown two minutes later.

ToysRLuv Tue 03-Sep-13 12:03:24

I'm exactly the same forthill. We had video games and betamax on tap in the very early 80s. Also, computers and computer games. Still I have and old, shit builders' waterproof mobile phone that I don't use or take with me often enough (my dh despairs!). Have a kindle, though, but almost never take it out either.

Modern technology us wonderful in many ways, though. DH was reading a book about space to ds last night and it mentioned the "cosmic dragon", but didn't explain exactly what it was. It took dh precisely half a minute to find a detailed explanation for ds in a new scientist article on the internet on his iphone..

Ledkr Tue 03-Sep-13 11:45:14

I give my I phone to my toddler if she's playing up in a restaurant. I think people would far rather she watches mr tumble than have their meal ruined by her nonsense.

forthill Tue 03-Sep-13 11:41:23

Actually Mrs. Oak, my mobile is 9 years old, so I am not a tech-freak. But I think the world is so dependent on technology, and today's toddlers will be living in a world even more dominated by technology, so it's important that they are fluent in its use. I am an optimist, and i don't believe real friendship and human interaction will ever be superseded by computers.

My father is an IT consultant, and so I grew up with computers and computer games shock. I would say I was more exposed to computers than the average child at the time, and I am well-adjusted (at least I hope so!) - I have lots of real friends, and am happily married, so i think I know how to interact with real people.

Although I had lots of access to computers as a child, I am not on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. So a lifetime of computer exposure doesn't necessarily produce a technology-obsessed geek!

Soditall Tue 03-Sep-13 11:38:32

I'm not judging anyone,unlike some wink I've said I personally don't like it and it wouldn't be something I'd do with my children and I kind of hope they don't with they're children when they're parents but if they do that will be they're choice.

And like I said before there is 7 of us and 3 of us are now disabled so I completely get people using them for children and adults that can't cope with having to sit still and can't be quiet because of a disability.

It's the fact that so many parents tie themselves up in knots trying to keep children that are'nt ill or disabled constantly occupied is if they're world will end if they don't that worrys me.

working9while5 Tue 03-Sep-13 11:34:49

I generally agree

BUT

the other day took ds1 for lunch after a cinema trip and shopping in town. Am 11 weeks pregnant and when I got in there I suddenly felt like puking all over the table. So to distract myself while he was colouring I had a wee browse and MN before food came.

Ds was quiet and I was uncommunicative and I swear the people next to us were hoiking up their judgy pants.. but they would probably not have preferred a spewing incident so be it!

MrsOakenshield Tue 03-Sep-13 11:32:50

forthill - your situation is of course completely understandable, but I have to say I doubt it is the case with the swathes of teenagers I have seen on the tube this summer, travelling together but all glued to their individual screens. It comes across as everything happening on screen is more important than the people they are with. I have been in the pub with people who are not 'on call' or anything like that, but have to keep updating Twitter/FB/whatever when in fact you've made the effort to meet up with them and would actually like to have a chat, but appear to be playing second fiddle to a screen. I only ever have my piece-of-crap phone out if I am waiting to meet someone who might be runing late or not know where I am, or if we have a babysitter (though I tend to keep it in my pocket on vibrate).

It just seems (to old-fogey) me that you give a portable screen to someone of any age and it becomes the focus of their lives.

BoozyBear Tue 03-Sep-13 11:27:55

i was bought up not to use mobile phones at the table/in social company. My dad was one of the first generation of workers to have one and a need to be contactable at all times for his job.

He LOATHES the things and made a rule that at mealtimes and social occasions and on holiday, they were BANNED.

However, even he can see the benefit of giving them to DS to use in a restaurant.. as long as I'M not texting/internetting on it, its presence is acceptable to keep ds occupied. grin

forthill Tue 03-Sep-13 11:24:36

Maybe I'm unusual but when I'm in a restaurant I like to concentrate on the people I'm with, instead of judging others.
I make a special exception for restaurant guests who inflict screaming toddlers on other diners. I judge them to be selfish.

ToysRLuv Tue 03-Sep-13 11:24:03

Yes, Lady. You are just not trying hard enough, and have simply failed in your job as a parent already.

LadyRabbit Tue 03-Sep-13 11:22:01

*judged, not judges!

LadyRabbit Tue 03-Sep-13 11:21:28

So basically if one dares go out for a meal with a young child you will be judged if they are lively and boisterous and need to be constantly occupied or will roam a restaurant and introduce themselves to other diners (mine does this).
Or, if in an effort to allow others to have an uninterrupted meal you let them use an iPad to watch an episode of Peppa Pig and everyone dines in peace.
Can't win on MN it seems - you're going to be judges regardless.

K8Middleton Tue 03-Sep-13 11:17:51

One thing is certain. That couple did not have iPads growing up so there is no evidence that giving a small child an ipad or similar for a few minutes during meal times will turn them into rude antisocial adults. One could argue that being taught how to use an ipad appropriately when out will help to avoid breeding antisocial adults.

Small children are shit at conversation and their table manners are lacking so anything that helps mitigate that has got to be good.

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