AIBU to think my sister is taking the mobile phone house "ban" too far?

(60 Posts)
PinkHat1 Tue 17-Dec-13 09:40:27

We're going to my sister's house for Christmas (Christmas Eve to Boxing day) and she called me to say that they have introduced a new house rule of no mobile phones being turned on in the house. She has 2 kids (7 and 10) each with a mobile and her husband has an iPad and BlackBerry for work. She says that to try and get some proper family time, phones and tablets must be switched off over Christmas. I understand her point, but think she's being a little extreme. I don't have kids but do have an iPad and iPhone... I told her that I thought her new "house rule" was going a bit far, but she said it is no different than me asking everyone to take their shoes off in my house (which I do). I've been thinking about this for a few days now and it's starting to bug me. Can I just refuse?

msvee Tue 17-Dec-13 09:42:31

You could refuse but what would be so important that you can't have your phone off for a few hours whilst spending time with family.

Cant believe the children have phones at that age !

lola88 Tue 17-Dec-13 09:42:52

Just put it on Silent and check it on the sly smile

CMOTDibbler Tue 17-Dec-13 09:44:07

You'll be able to use them in your room though, so I don't see the problem. And I think that banning everyone looking at phones/tablets over christmas is a brilliant idea to get everyone away from them and socialising

Llareggub Tue 17-Dec-13 09:44:21

I would say nothing and keep my phone on silent.

ViviPru Tue 17-Dec-13 09:44:27

Allow me to draw your attention to the Smile And Nod.

Smile and nod at her. Phone on silent, quick peek into the outside world while you're on the loo, if you're compelled to do so. I do this anyway while in company.

It would only be an issue if you had DC that you were being expected to force to comply.

No need to refuse. Just humour her.

SkinnybitchWannabe Tue 17-Dec-13 09:45:02

I think it's a great idea.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 17-Dec-13 09:45:04

Switching off wouldn't bother me but I wouldn't socialise with anybody that assumed I needed to be told to, I'm not 12.

ViviPru Tue 17-Dec-13 09:45:09

X post with everyone. This is a non-issue.

littlepeas Tue 17-Dec-13 09:48:08

I think it's a brilliant idea. How sad that there are people out there who can't cope without their gadgets for a couple of days.

angelos02 Tue 17-Dec-13 09:49:53

Its pretty sad if you can't be without your mobile/tablet for a few hours. Lots of people don't have them you know.

TwoCatsInTheYard Tue 17-Dec-13 09:50:09

We always phone round parents, in-laws and other close family members on Christmas Day to wish a merry Christmas and thank them for presents. I assumed lots of people did this. In fact, I am pretty sure my nan used to phone her sister on Christmas Day, and they would usually be on the phone for up to an hour! Will your sister be happy for you to use her landline?

ViviPru Tue 17-Dec-13 09:54:16

Re-reading your OP, OP if she really has said you're expected to have your phone SWITCHED OFF for the best part of 3 days, then she's being potty.

If she had said "we're trying to encourage a bit of family time without constant noses in devices, if you wouldn't mind going along with this and not using your phone when we're all together I'd really appreciate it" then fair enough. I stand by my original post though. Smile & Nod.

MmeCinqAnneauxDor Tue 17-Dec-13 09:54:39

I think banning phones altogether is going to far, but banning them during Xmas dinner, or for the majority of Xmas day would be ok. (and I say that as a Social Media addict).

Is no one allowed to take photos or share on Social Media for the full 3 days then?

TwoCatsInTheYard Tue 17-Dec-13 09:58:22

No Christmas day photos either. sad

I totally understand that she doesn't want people glued to angry birds or obsessively facebooking but totally banning the outside world is extreme.

earlgray Tue 17-Dec-13 10:00:07

I think its a good idea so long as you can use them when you're not in company, ie in your room. If her kids see guests using their phones its going to make a horrible situation!

quesadilla Tue 17-Dec-13 10:05:15

I personally agree with you: I think some limits on phone/screen time are necessary and particularly at meal and communal time but a total ban is OTT.

On the other hand, her house, her rules.

uncomfortablydumb Tue 17-Dec-13 10:07:51

I can see her point, but think it's a bit extreme.

Don't agree that it is the same as shoes off.

Xpost with everyone. Smile, nod, phone on silent, check when you can.

scaevola Tue 17-Dec-13 10:09:32

She wants consistency for her DC.

Unless you are on call for work and must be contactable, then leave your phone in your room and check it in private.

AbiRoad Tue 17-Dec-13 10:10:49

Unless everyone you know who you might speak to or exchange emails/texts with over that period knows your sister's landline and can call you on that, I do not think it is reasonable to cut off your means of communication for that long (a few hours on Christmas day is fine).

But I think some limits are fine, and postiviely a good idea. My DD is gettign an IPod touch for christmas and I need to figure out a rule which allows her some time with her new "toy" but does not end up taking over christmas.

MerryMarigold Tue 17-Dec-13 10:10:59

I would abide by the rule in public but keep phone in room and use it when you are in there. It's nice to text friends etc at Christmas.

Trills Tue 17-Dec-13 10:16:06

I'm sure what she meant to say was no fiddling with mobile phones when you should be interacting with other people, or possibly no using phones in front of the children.

If that's not what she meant to say, you should tell her that it's what she should have meant to say...

throwingstones Tue 17-Dec-13 10:21:23

No Christmas day photos either.

You do realise photography was invented a long long time before tablets and smartphones?

A blanket ban is maybe a bit OTT but it's better than many households who sit there posting inane crap on facebook all day ignoring the real life right in front of them. You can refuse but she can refuse to have you there at all in response.

Dawndonnaagain Tue 17-Dec-13 10:21:45

Look, twenty years ago this didn't happen and do you know what, nobody went hungry, nobody got lost from the loo to the kitchen, everything was absolutely fine. The world continued on its way, as always. If you are really that distressed about not being able to see what the rest of the world is doing when it's family time, fine, keep it on silent. Otherwise, her house, her rules. Oh, and yes, I have put a ban on all mobile and net devices from ten on Christmas Eve until boxing day.

DeckTheHallsWithBonesAndSkully Tue 17-Dec-13 10:23:49

other than the fact you might want to use the camera on it, i can't see the problem.. just leave it on silent and leave it in your room/coat and save using it for when you're on your own/in bed.

You're an adult, she can ask you to abide by her rules, but it doesn't mean you have to and there are ways to work around them without the use of them intruding into family time.

struggling100 Tue 17-Dec-13 10:24:36

Definitely second the 'silent-mode-and-check-on-the-loo' advice!

It's your sister's house, so her rules... and it's not unreasonable for her to want her children to get out of the habit of looking at screens constantly and instead to interact with those around them.

Obviously, if there is an emergency, she would need to make an exception. And if there are people you need to ring and wish a merry Christmas, I'm sure she'd understand that too.

fluffyraggies Tue 17-Dec-13 10:29:07

I'd put it on silent for texts etc. but leave it on for actual calls.

If there is anyone in your life who might have an emergency they can still get hold of you. Texts/emails can wait a couple of days to be answered.

Understandable that she doesn't want you keep looking at stuff on your phones/ipads, but cheeky to say you cant receive any phone calls. Is she ripping out her land line for 3 days? Thought not.

DeWe Tue 17-Dec-13 10:30:20

I think it's reasonable to ask that you only check your phone in private. Which is what you'll effectively be doing. I can't imagine she's going to notice or indeed mind if you check privately.

Anouncing at the dinner table "Aunty X has just texted and sends her love" is probably provocative. grin

BrownSauceSandwich Tue 17-Dec-13 10:34:22

I'm completely on your sister's side. I don't suppose she's going to have some magic mobile phone sensor to make sure yours isn't switched on, and I don't suppose she really gives a shit. But I bet she's had to fight with her family to get them to agree to a bit of uninterrupted time together, and if your phone is beeping/buzzing, or you're sending texts, checking Facebook during the day, it's only going to undermine her. And for the sake of one day? What, exactly, do you think you or your friends are going to say to each other that can't wait?

Not the same at all as shoes off in the house: now that is unreasonable fgrin

FunnyFestiveTableRunner Tue 17-Dec-13 10:34:33

Do you have form for visiting her house and sitting scrolling through texts or MNing in the living room? I think it is fair enough during the day (in emergencies people can reach the landline) but once you are up in your room for the night I don't think there's much she can do about it (she may turn off the Wi-Fi though so you might want to save your mobile data allowance!)

I do find the whole intrusion of texts and phone calls irritating at times. Most messages on Christmas Day are just merry Christmas messages which can easily wait till that evening.

FunnyFestiveTableRunner Tue 17-Dec-13 10:36:11

Yes and I agree with brownsauce - don't undermine her when she has obviously had a fight to carve out family time. If her husband is usually 'on call' for work (even unofficially) she is probably trying to create a very definite family time. It's not fair to undermine her in front of the kids but up in your room at bedtime I don't see a problem.

MrsLouisTheroux Tue 17-Dec-13 10:42:44

Why would you need to be on your phone in company?
Switch it onto silent/ vibrate and check it when you are out of the room. I have a friend who answers her phone/ texts constantly when we are together. She is V rude IMHO.

uncomfortablydumb Tue 17-Dec-13 10:54:48

DeWe grin

Tulip26 Tue 17-Dec-13 11:01:35

Is she 1. A control freak or is she 2. trying to get peaceful family time? I would say it sounds like the first but she's using the second to justify it.

friday16 Tue 17-Dec-13 11:03:01

She wants consistency for her DC.

Then she shouldn't invite other adults.

Rufustherednosedreindeer Tue 17-Dec-13 11:03:17

I can't see a problem with it

In fact I must remember to put my ipad down over Christmas

I was sat watching a film with the children the other day and 3 out of 4 of use were on iPads or touchs sad

May bring in family time....thank your SIL for me, that's not meant to be snarky

Hope you have a good Christmas

whois Tue 17-Dec-13 11:05:58

I think it's a stupid idea for adults. DP and I spend Christmas apart and I would be bloody annoyed if my sister told me I wasn't allowed to contact him over Christmas! No harm in exchanging the odd text during the day and calling for a catch up on each other's Christmas!

eurochick Tue 17-Dec-13 11:13:09

I think it's a silly idea. Much better to demonstrate to her how phones and tablets can be used sensibly. Family would be calling me to wish me merry christmas/thank me for gifts and I would want to do the same. Asking you not to be glued to it would be reasonable.

thebody Tue 17-Dec-13 11:16:55

I really wouldn't worry, her kids are 7 and 10 so she's got a lot to learn. grin

personally I would worry about anyone that controlling really.

don't you have parents or other older relatives that may need to contact you at any time.

thebody Tue 17-Dec-13 11:19:00

oh to add being on a phone and texting constantly is bloody rude but by banning things she's not teaching her children self control.

DowntonTrout Tue 17-Dec-13 11:20:16

I think she has brought this "rule" in for her DCs and has extended it to everyone.

It's one thing banning phones at the table or in family time/company but quite another to restrict and control adults in this way.

I would find this difficult. It's Christmas, I will want to take photos. If I was staying away from home there would be a number of people I would want to talk to over Christmas. Including family abroad- who we would FaceTime or Skype, and who will want to "see" DCs on Christmas day.

Plus my DH will have his phone switched on as he will need to deal with any business emergencies. That would be non negotiable. Just because it's our Christmas doesn't mean it is everywhere in the world.

Katiepoes Tue 17-Dec-13 12:21:35

I think it's taking things a bit far but I also think it's just a reaction to the fact that more and more people never leave off messing with the wretched things. I know far too many people who simply cannot put them down - and now here there is an actual campaign telling people not to use Facebook/Whatsapp etc while driving! If grown men and women need to be told not to be that stupid while behind the wheel of a car it's hardly surprising people feel the need to blanket ban them for a while.

beanandspud Tue 17-Dec-13 13:23:52

The sentiment (family time, being in the present, not spending the day on Twitter/FB) is absolutely fine - it's the way that it has been communicated that seems very heavy handed.

GrendelsMum Tue 17-Dec-13 13:29:47

I think it's a great idea - I wouldn't be surprised if the issue isn't that her DH is constantly online for "work" etc, and the rest of the family is feeling increasingly neglected as a result. Brilliant idea to get everyone back talking face to face again.

NotYoMomma Tue 17-Dec-13 13:35:38

I would go along with her tbh, what do you need it for? people (myself included!) are constantly on phones/ tablets /pcs these days

dreamingofsun Tue 17-Dec-13 13:36:52

is she also unplussing the landline? surely if you ban mobiles you should also ban any phone.......why should it be allowed because it has a cable?

but then i always think non-mobile carriages on trains are a bit odd.....people are allowed to speak still, just not via a piece of equipment. How is this different, other than the fact you can't hear both sides of the conversation with a mobile user?

for that matter, it may be improving family time with those present, but it hardly improves it with any family that isn't if you can't speak with them

Ephiny Tue 17-Dec-13 13:43:49

I think she's being very silly and rude. She can impose whatever rules she wants on her own children, but you can't 'ban' adult guests from using their own phones confused.

dreamingofsun Tue 17-Dec-13 13:45:46

grendelsmum - thats a bit sexist isn't it? how do you know its not her on the phone for work all the time?

BrownSauceSandwich Tue 17-Dec-13 14:19:54

Dreamingofsun - err, because OP actually said that the husband has an ipad and a blackberry for work.

foreverondiet Tue 17-Dec-13 18:45:43

I actually think this is reasonable. No need to be in constant contact. Turn phone to voicemail and leave in your room - respond to everything in the evening. Take with a stand alone camera for photos.

GeekInThePink Tue 17-Dec-13 18:55:32

Agree with her and make regular trips to the bathroom to check phone if you must?

It's fine, honestly!

Ifcatshadthumbs Tue 17-Dec-13 18:59:02

I think anyone who gives their 7 year old a mobile phone has no business telling others what they can and can't do with theirs <judgy and don't care>

CSIJanner Tue 17-Dec-13 19:03:54

Does your sister object to your handing out her LL to friends etc to contact you over the Christmas period/on Christmas Day? If no, YABU.

If yes, DSis-IBU.

Having said that, if the children are in bed, does she still object to mobiles being off (family time)? I wold object to no mobile for 24 hours constant

AphraBane Tue 17-Dec-13 19:06:44

I think it's a great idea and entirely reasonable to ask people to refrain from using the phone in company for the entire period of two whole days. But it's none of her business what you do when alone in your room (providing it's legal, of course wink)

Ifcatshadthumbs Tue 17-Dec-13 19:09:39

Although that said I would never text people or make phone call when I'm at other people's houses and I only answer my mobile in company if I think it is important.

ChippingInLovesChristmasLights Tue 17-Dec-13 19:10:26

How bloody rude of her to treat you as though you don't have any manners and need telling!

If you had children with phones I could just about understand her saying that 'we have told our two they aren't to use their phones during dinner or constantly over Christmas, would you mind very much letting your know that's what we have done so ours don't feel too put out?' but you don't - she's being rude.

I'd ask her if she wants us to come or not and if she does then to stop dictating like a twat to two adults.

If she has a problem with her DH she needs to discuss it with him - like an adult. If she has a problem with her 7 & 10 year olds having phones then she needs to deal with it - like a parent. None of this requires you to do anything.

She is acting like a complete twat.

Ifcatshadthumbs Tue 17-Dec-13 19:16:47

This reminds of when I worked in a shop and the manager waved a box under my nose and told me he was confiscating all staff's mobile phones during working hours.

I pointed out that my phone was in my car (no lockers or safe place to leave it inside) and that as a grown woman in her 30's I don't need to have my possessions conficated like a naughty school girl and that if other members of staff were using their phones on the shop floor then he should address it with them directly. He went of with his little box and blush

friday16 Tue 17-Dec-13 19:19:25

I confess, I'd tell my relatives to get stuffed and find somewhere else to do Christmas.

My parents don't have, and never have had, a television. They're not making a big deal out of it, and these days they take advantage of having a free license (over 75) and watch not only iPlayer (doesn't need a license) but occasionally live TV (strictly speakingdoes) on their laptops. I'm to this day not entirely clear what their objection is: I think it's just that they've never quite got around to it, and every year that goes by without doing anything about it reinforces the position.

However, when I was a child, I recall relatives point blank refusing to visit at Christmas (my parents lived far enough from their respective families that any visit required at least one overnight stay) because they wanted to see the Morecombe and Wise Christmas Special or whatever. Pre VHS, pre-iPlayer: if you missed it, you'd missed it. I think they had a point: you're entitled to play "my house, my rules", but that doesn't mean that anyone else has to play it with you.

The same goes for people who are ostentatiously tee-total, alcoholic, don't eat until 11pm, turn the generator off and go to bed at 7pm, insist that everyone arrives in fancy-dress, want to debate the merits of the second Vienna School with everyone bringing an essay to discuss and a prepared piece to play on the provided musical instruments: you're entitled to be eccentric, but you're not entitled to be offended if people don't want to spend Christmas with you.

thebody Tue 17-Dec-13 20:23:45

I hope she gets less controlling as her kids get older or she's in for some mega battles with teens.

worse she's not teaching them self control or manners or appropriate behaviour. banning is lazy parenting and bizarre to you as adults.

Ruffcat Tue 17-Dec-13 20:46:03

So you dh isn't allowed to call any of him family over Christmas. I'd refuse

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