Tweens/Teens and ipads etc - AIBU to think they're getting worse.

(41 Posts)
manicinsomniac Sun 10-Feb-13 19:35:29

I feel like a 70 year old on a rant but I'm starting to feel that many older children are losing the ability to entertain themselves and make polite conversation.

I took a group of children on a school trip to a restaurant last night (ok, not a high end one, a tacky chain but still a restaurant) and one of the children got his ipad out as soon as we got there. I hadn't even thought to ban them from bringing them to a restaurant because I didn't think they'd think to either! I didn't want to ruin his night by coming down heavy on him but I did ask him why he thought he needed it. Reply: I thought the food would take quite a long time to come. I told him yes it would but couldn't he spend some time communicating with his friends and he looked baffled and told me he was playing a 2 person game!

Aarghh, that's not communication!

My children are younger so I'm not sure how normal this is but what do you think, AIBU to expect 11+ year olds to attend a social occasion without being plugged into technology?!?

niceguy2 Sun 10-Feb-13 19:37:42


posted from ipad.

Annunziata Sun 10-Feb-13 19:39:59

YANBU. It's horrible to see, and it is getting more common (I run a restaurant).

sooperdooper Sun 10-Feb-13 19:40:03

I agree, I think phones/ipads/laptops are rude when you're eating somewhere

DomesticCEO Sun 10-Feb-13 19:45:46

YANBU! How sad.

GretaGip Sun 10-Feb-13 19:54:23

I really dislike to see a child with a gagdet at the table, but a book doesn;t cause the same angst in me.

Wonder why?

manicinsomniac Sun 10-Feb-13 20:06:59

hmmm, I kind of see your point greta but I would find a book rude and unnecessary too.

muffinmonster Sun 10-Feb-13 20:51:52

To me this is pretty anti-social. I think I would have done as you did and said something, but agree that you couldn't really get heavy about it in the circumstances.

I've more than once seen a couple I know in a restaurant with their son (aged 11 or so), who is plugged into a Nintendo or whatever; they get something like a one-to-one meal, and he's no trouble because he's entertained. I can see why they do it, but it's a very bad lesson to teach a child. Would never let my own DCs do it.

MrsKeithRichards Sun 10-Feb-13 20:56:33

If we're going out for a meal in a group with no other kids or as a family here we would like to sit and chat a bit afterwards we will take ds(7) tablet. He knows he'll get to play it after puddings, not at any point before. It means I cab get an extra 20 minutes to finish my bottle glass of wine.

MrsKeithRichards Sun 10-Feb-13 20:58:01

Saying that he'll sit doing the puzzles or colouring in restaurants hand out. As a toddler we'd go out armed with things to keep him busy. Is it really any different?

DialsMavis Sun 10-Feb-13 21:06:53

I agree, but last week DS pointed out that I am happy to let him bring a book if we are going for a meal/drink and there will be no other DC there but not his iPod touch. I had to admit it is just intellectual snobbery on my part. But out with his peers? No way smile

GloriaPritchett Sun 10-Feb-13 21:08:21

But MrsKeith you're talking about a child! OP asked about an 11 year old- I think by 11 you should definitely be able to sit and make polite conversation.

Smudging Sun 10-Feb-13 21:15:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Smudging Sun 10-Feb-13 21:17:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

manicinsomniac Sun 10-Feb-13 21:20:41

yes, MrsKeith I think taking stuff to amuse a toddler or small child is very different.

I wouldn't even have been so shocked if it was one bored 11 year old and a group of adults (though I still don't like the idea) but this was an 11 year old surrounded by his peers and friends!

CloudsAndTrees Sun 10-Feb-13 21:27:50


My DC love their iPods, bit they know there is no way they are allowed them at the table.

It's caused a problem in the past when they've been out with their Dad and his GF and her children, because she allows her dc to use gadgets at the table whereas ex and I never did. It pisses me right off that we were made to look unreasonable in the eyes of our children because of someone else's lazy parenting.

Startail Sun 10-Feb-13 21:28:24

I love DS's and ipods, they make meals out with DD2 bearable.

It's not simply she has zero tolerance for waiting for food, she isn't very bothered about eating either.

She'll eat half of something tiny and boring of the kids menu and then start getting restless, if DH, me and DD1 want to enjoy something interesting that needs savoring, not a burger in Mac Donald's, plunging DD2 in is a must.

Actually she gets fidgety in Mac D's too, she simply eats like a mouse and finds all food except ice-cream boring. She's not being naughty or rude, well she is, but not deliberately. Meals just aren't an important part of her day.

Arisbottle Sun 10-Feb-13 21:29:50

We often get an iPad out when we go for a coffee or lunch and we all do the crossword together, I am sure people are judging us, luckily I don't give a fuck.

Madeyemoodysmum Mon 11-Feb-13 12:23:23

Yanbu. I allowed it Sunday but only because my dd has a irritating cough and it was helping distract her from coughing and annoying the other diners. Normally though I say no.

GreatBallsofFluff Mon 11-Feb-13 13:29:08

I remember being 8 and going out for a meal with my mum, her boyfriend and my sister. I was really into reading the Sweet Valley books at the time blush and had taken one along so that I didn't get bored. As soon as it was seen by mum and her boyfriend, they promptly told me off for being rude and bringing it. Since then I have never taken anything like that out for a meal again. I allow DD to if it is just her and a whole load of other adults (basically my family as she is the only child) but if it is just me and her going for a meal, then I won't allow her to.

Jins Mon 11-Feb-13 13:30:56

We played a game together as a family on DS2s IPad last night. It put me in mind of my childhood when we all played cards or Monopoly after we'd eaten.

They aren't all bad

moogalicious Mon 11-Feb-13 13:33:44

Stairtail how old is your DD?

I would expect an 11+ yo to be able to go out for a meal with his friends and make conversation. My dd is 10 and I don't need to take gadgets for her.

moogalicious Mon 11-Feb-13 13:34:48

Agree Jin but not at the dinner table/at a restaurant!

VivaLeBeaver Mon 11-Feb-13 13:38:12

Me and dd will sometimes play monopoly together on the ipad while waiting for a meal to come at a restaurant. Not every time and only if its the 2 of us but sometimes we do. We spend plenty of time communicating.

Jins Mon 11-Feb-13 13:41:08

We were at the dinner table.

It was quality family time tbh. I'd probably do it at a restaurant as well

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 11-Feb-13 13:41:22

My parents took us to a fab chinese restaurant about once a year. It was the only time we ever went to a restaurant, and it was exiting! There were tables that turned around! Chinese people! (sorry, but in the wilds of 80's Yorkshire this was v. exiting) Strange food!
The idea that any of us might have been bored would have been unthinkable.
I think maybe kids today <gimmer> are treated too much to these kinds of experiences (and I include my own in that) and that they are so blase about restaurants etc that they can get bored.
But really, that is just tough shit isn't it?
If your child needs electronic distraction in a restaurant, then they shouldn't be taken to restaurants.

mrsjay Mon 11-Feb-13 13:44:03

YANBU i glare at my teens if they bring out phones if we are eating, they dont have tablets but the mobiles drives me mad, I have seen children with Ds consoles as well i am humphy about that too, if your preteen cant cope with a meal out then dont take them imo

OldBeanbagz Mon 11-Feb-13 13:46:01


As a family we have plenty of gadgets but they're not allowed at the table at mealtimes and i wouldn't let me DC take them out to a restaurant either. I might check my emails if i was out for lunch though.

And as for posting FB updates from a meal out hmm

mrsjay Mon 11-Feb-13 13:48:20

And as for posting FB updates from a meal out

checking in and posting pictures of puddings and cocktails really gets on my wick , SO n SO is at with X Y Z look heres our starter angry

mrsjay Mon 11-Feb-13 13:48:49

My dds do it but they can text and facebook from their pockets hmm

tinygreendragon Mon 11-Feb-13 13:50:12

I used to manage a pub that was popular with 18-21yo students. All too often I would look around the room and see groups of 5-6 friends sat at a table in complete silence with their heads down looking at a screen. This is not to say that this age group are the only ones guilty of this, I'd also notice groups of adults doing this also.

Trying to promote your business as a lively, friendly bar with good music and good food when everyone is sat with their heads in their screens is not an easy task when the place is as silent as a library.

mrsjay Mon 11-Feb-13 13:52:00

I think young people socalise through twitter these days even if they are out in the pub hmm

mrsjay Mon 11-Feb-13 13:52:21

listen to me 'young people' I feel like my granny blush

ChristmasJubilee Mon 11-Feb-13 13:55:05

Ds1 has ADHD and his medication affects his appetite so he often waits and takes it with his meal if we are eating out. He is now 17 and can sit and chat but until a couple of years ago there was no way he could have waited 20 mins for a meal without his DS or i-pod.

mrsjay Mon 11-Feb-13 13:57:31

there is always exceptions to everything CJ but most of them cant seem to go 5 minutes without wanting to look at a screen

ChristmasJubilee Mon 11-Feb-13 14:36:31

mrsjay I suppose I'm saying people shouldn't judge if they don't know the circumstances. My ds3 (6), on the other hand, has no problem sitting chatting although he does have trouble sitting quietly!

scaredysquirrel Mon 11-Feb-13 14:42:50

I agree - I have teens and younger children - we have a rule, no phones or electronic devices at the table.

But i have to say, adults are fairly rude too. It is rare I go out with a group and they don't all plonk their phones on the table. They aren't quite as bad as the teenagers as they do manage to avoid being on them constantly, but they all check them. and it's the same at work too - at any meeting I go to, people put their phones on the table. most check them through the meeting.

andubelievedthat Mon 11-Feb-13 15:32:53

when i started dating my current fella, on 1st official,real, agreed, date he produced a mobile to, i expect check his message(s), i got up to leave ,after quickly explaining to him that if i were so bloody boring i may as well leave(he was not expecting an important communication) so, apologies ,phone switched off ,happiness all round, with my daughter ,she brings herself to the table ,the electronic toys are put away.imo people at a table communicate with each other as regards children being bored ? are children not to be taught that bordom exists ,is a part of life,and manners are an asset?

mrsjay Mon 11-Feb-13 15:35:22

I know cj I knew what you meant but it does seem that people in general seem to be stuck to their screens these days I am a bit guilty of it myself sometimes if im out and about I sit on facebook when im on the bus or in the car as a passengers im not looking and driving grin

Arisbottle Mon 11-Feb-13 18:58:08

I suppose it may depend on how often you eat out. We eat out at least once a week, as a family we will often discuss the news , do a crossword , play a game as we eat out, particularly a lazy Sunday lunch

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 11-Feb-13 19:02:33


The expectation is that children are incapable of making conversation. Idiocy.

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