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to think that it is poor behaviour if children/teenagers play on their phones for 100% of the time at a meal out?

(151 Posts)
FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 19:54:26

Bit of a reunion with old friends today. We are scattered far and wide so don't see each other all that often and have lots of children between us ages ranging from 8 to 14, who don't know each other particularly well but have certainly met before and seen each other from time to time.

There were more than 25 of us and the only way we could configure it in the restaurant was for the 8 children to sit on a table nearby.

Aibu to be really unimpressed that 3 of these kids simply played on their phones for the entire meal and made no effort to interact with the others?

My dd said that one boy (younger than her) literally did not speak at all.

GoldenGreen Sun 17-Feb-13 21:37:38

<mine are only 6 and 2 btw so I think it's ok to use my phone as a distraction now and then - am sure getting them off their phones will cause a lot of conflict when they are moody teenagers!>

GoldenGreen Sun 17-Feb-13 21:35:38

ooh we went out for lunch today and the waiter mentioned it was great to see our kids drawing whilst waiting for meals instead of being glued to an electronic device - naturally I smiled sweetly and didn't mention that my iPhone is always ready to come out if needed to keep someone quiet!

but - YANBU - rude to do this for the whole meal. I was a very shy child and would have not really enjoyed this. I would have been longing for a book to read while the others chatted but quite rightly wouldn't have been allowed. I would never have gained any social skills if I'd been able to hide away.

QuickLookBusy Sun 17-Feb-13 21:23:10

My dc wouldn't behave like this as we dont have phones during a meal and they are pretty confident.

However, I know some teenagers who are painfully, shy including one of my nieces. She's very chatty with people she knows but put her on a table with strangers she would completely clam up and would spend the entire meal using her phone. It would be the only way she could cope with this situation.

I therefore wouldn't judge a child I had no knowledge of.

aldiwhore Sun 17-Feb-13 21:06:39

I do think choice comes into it, and for all my 'inclusive' arguments, IF it has to be that there is a kids' table, the older or less sociable children should have a choice as to whether to attend or not.

At 14 I had more in common with adults than I did 8 year olds.

Cherriesarelovely Sun 17-Feb-13 20:57:00

I agree with you then. Sorry to all who think this is ok. Agree with you that if he was that uncomfortable he ought to have been allowed to stay at home.

FlouncingMintyy Sun 17-Feb-13 17:42:10

Cherries, as I said in my thread title, it was for the entire time we were there. Dd said one boy didn't actually speak a word. I can't really understand why his Mum brought him - he is one who could have stayed at home.

Cherriesarelovely Sun 17-Feb-13 17:35:40

If they literally sat staring at their phones and not speaking for the entire meal I think that is ridiculous. I hate phones at the table for any age group.

However, if they sat without their phones for the meal and then got them out I don't think it is too bad. 2 of my nephews are so glued to their phones they don't even look up to say hi when you greet them. My Db and sil have never corrected them. I have had some nice talks with the older one when I have asked him to show me funny stuff on youtube though so I do think phones can also be quite fun and sociable.

lljkk Sun 17-Feb-13 17:00:57


LaQueen Sun 17-Feb-13 16:52:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MechanicalTheatre Sun 17-Feb-13 12:22:43


This constant need to have a phone in your face is one of my bugbears. I went out for a meal with friends the other night and two or three people had their phone out the whole time. It is just so incredibly rude.

I'm currently doing teacher training and I'd say 50% of the lecture hall have their phones out and are texting throughout any class we have. Even tutorials, people text under the tables. We are talking about people who are in their 20s and training to be teachers FGS. It's pathetic.

IloveJudgeJudy Sun 17-Feb-13 12:22:21

Those of you who say that the 14 yos should have talked to the other DC. Have you never been in a position (when you were about that age) where you've been taken to your parents' friends' house or met up with them where the parents say that you'll all get along and you have nothing in common with those other DC? I have. That's why I have some sympathy with the 14 yos on their phones.

Andro Sun 17-Feb-13 12:02:40

I don't get the poster's who think it is a major hardship for a normal 14 year old to chat with unfamiliar children.

It's only a hardship is they haven't been taught basic social skills - or have a condition that make these skills extremely difficult to learn.

Flatbread Sun 17-Feb-13 11:59:08

Ah, yes, sorry. That is different to the OP's situation.

I don't get the poster's who think it is a major hardship for a normal 14 year old to chat with unfamiliar children.

Andro Sun 17-Feb-13 11:55:19

Flatbread - my dc are younger (9 and 5) and one of them is under the care of a psychologist, so the situation is a little different.

Flatbread Sun 17-Feb-13 11:46:52

With that said, unless my dc knew at least some of the others well I would have preferred to have them seated with me

Why? Will a 14 year old self-combust if they have to converse with unfamiliar people over a two hour lunch?

Flatbread Sun 17-Feb-13 11:41:50

Actually, I often throw dinner parties and invite guests who don't know each other. And usually make the seating arrangements so that new people are seated next to each other and it doesn't get 'cliquey'

I would expect them to be able to chat and hold a conversation. That is often how new friendships are formed. And even if not, it is still interesting to talk with different people. It is part of being civilized, and not a close-minded boor.

Andro Sun 17-Feb-13 11:37:47

I think having quiet distractions are fine up to a certain age (maybe 4-5yo depending on the child and how long the meal is), but beyond that it is just bad manners.

With that said, unless my dc knew at least some of the others well I would have preferred to have them seated with me.

aldiwhore Sun 17-Feb-13 11:27:52


Never gone to a wedding and been seated next to someone you don't know?

No, my friends have always put more effort into seating plans. wink

binger Sun 17-Feb-13 11:15:05

Don't think it's a big deal really. All parents presumably got to eat and drink without having to deal with their kids, whether they were playing on their phones or not.

shushpenfold Sun 17-Feb-13 11:00:10

I was ready to jump in and agree, but my 3 went to a wedding reception with us last year and were put on a table away from us with 6 teenagers (mine are 12 and younger)....I would have happily given them 3 phones as they looked flipping miserable! Some kids are great in social situations like this, others not so much.

snowtimelikethepresent Sun 17-Feb-13 10:56:13

So, not totted it up, but I think most replies lean on the yabu side so therefore iabu to think that a group of children should be able to entertain themselves for 2 hours without spending 100% of their time on their phone? Even though 5 of them did manage that, the other 3 were not being impolite.

As it happens OP I am totally on your side, but if your comment above doesn't win the prize for 'I am not unreasonable and I don't care what anybody else says I am not unreasonable but I will ask anyway for the pleasure of ignoring everybody else and thereby proving how superior I and my children are' bingo, then I am a banana (op cit Ian Hislop c 1990 ish)

JenaiMorris Sun 17-Feb-13 10:54:57

I don't see a problem with all the youngsters being on a different table; if they're all mixed in with the adults it has an impact on the kind of conversation the adults can have.

I can imagine with my group of friends that the phones would be out for a while - it's a bit of a bonding ritual between them to show each other whatever You Tube video or game is flavour of the month. Here and there one of us would tell them to get of the ruddy phones and be civilised but I don't think we'd be obsessive and it's not that far away from the crayons and colouring that people seem to think younger children need when eating out.

Spending all the time staring only at one's own phone would be a no-no.

FlouncingMintyy Sun 17-Feb-13 10:40:06

Morning! Just to say my children (who were 5 of the 8 who did not spend the entire time on their phones) enjoyed themselves very much.

It was not possible to leave the two eldest at home as they were the dc of the organiser, who was staying overnight in our town, although I agree that as they didn't utter a word to any of the others on the table she might as well have given them some money to go to the cinema or something. But it was her occasion (a celebration) and I guess she wanted them to be there.

Just checking that your definition of a successful "reasoned debate" would be to make me feel stupid? and offend anyone else who makes a comment on your strangely aggressive stance on this?

Campari Sun 17-Feb-13 10:38:14

My sister lets her 13 year old do this. I think it is blatantly rude and bad mannered at any age. He should learn to be more sociable!

cory Sun 17-Feb-13 10:12:16

I totally agree and won't let mine do it. But cannot get my mother to see that if her grown son reads a book during a party, this is equally bad behaviour; apparently books are different. Particularly if they are very learned and in obscure languages. hmm

Having said that, if I organised a party as an adult, I would make sure we talked to those teenagers and didn't just leave them as some kind of unasked babysitters.

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