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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...

Pascha Mon 02-Sep-13 08:54:51

I do - more or less - agree, especially if the parent isn't engaging with their child. However, there are times when the crayons have been dropped, the lego has been banged and the paper scrunched and the food still hasn't arrived and thats when a toddler-friendly app is the most wonderful thing in the world.

Judicious use is sometimes the most practical way of avoiding a meltdown and a hurried exit.

Fisharefriendsnotfood Mon 02-Sep-13 08:55:37

Totally agree. Emergency situations are different but on holidays 8/10 family had the kids sat watching iPads during dinner. How on earth are they meant to learn how to behave/ interact socially etc? I don't care if I get flamed I think it's lazy lazy parenting..and some people have it bloody loud too, I don't want to listen to peppa bloody pig while having my dinner thanks!

AnneUulmelmahay Mon 02-Sep-13 08:56:18

Ipads and electronic devices are the moderne way

I cant see how it differs from entertaining selves with crsyon/paper

However your gripe is about parents on devices, ignoring offspring

Marrow Mon 02-Sep-13 08:57:25

Watching CBeebies on the IPad is a sure fire way of keeping my toddler quiet and stopping him from disturbing other diners on the very rare occasions that we go out. We only get it out after he has got bored of the usual chat, books, drawing etc. We don't have a television at home so it is a bit of a treat for him and holds his attention. He wears headphones so there is no noise.

BlackberriesAhoy Mon 02-Sep-13 08:58:36

HA! I knew that example would backfire. My gripe is, will our children turn into those parents if we let them use iPads etc in restaurants.

I also think that papers, pens, Lego etc still involve the parents talking to the children, helping building etc rather than the zombified state we all go into when watching a screen.

CoffeeTea103 Mon 02-Sep-13 08:58:43

I agree with you!!! It's really sad to see how people are so involved in their own world and miss out.

I went out to a very expensive restaurant recently and was seated next to a table of 2 adults and 4 kids. Every single one of them were glued to a phone/iPad! My DH even said to me why bother coming out if you don't even appreciate being together.

BlackberriesAhoy Mon 02-Sep-13 09:00:06

I know what you are saying marrow but is your aim to eat out as a family or eat out as if your child isn't there (because they are silent and not engaged with you at all)?

hairylittlegoblin Mon 02-Sep-13 09:00:31

Hmmm. DS is 3 and has been known to sit in a cafe (not usually a restaurant) with my phone. As said above we would always start with crayons, chatting and perhaps taking him for a quick walk around. But if service is slow and he's hungry or he's finished his meal and we're still eating then I will sometimes keep him entertained with it for 10 mins to eat my meal in peace.

I agree that kids and parents plugged into devices for a whole meal is disturbing but I think like anything else it can be used to good effect.

Faithless12 Mon 02-Sep-13 09:00:33

Yabu and yanbu. We don't on the whole take our iPad with us when we go out because we want to enjoy our time together as a family. However there has been one time, my birthday dinner when we had the iPad and DS wouldn't sit still so he watched something on the iPad and ate his dinner. I'm sure we had some judging looks but I don't care, they saw a snapshot of our lives.

ChrisTheSheep Mon 02-Sep-13 09:00:49

We use storybook apps on the iPhone if all other methods of entertaining DS have been exhausted and the food hasn't arrived yet. I'm working on the basis that it's more pleasant for everyone around us! Everything goes away when the food arrives: he's generally pretty good at eating in company, but I'd prefer to keep him occupied (quietly) at the table before then.

Trills Mon 02-Sep-13 09:01:27

Electronic devices are cleaner and less likely to get thrown than crayons.

If you have a toddler in a restaurant maybe sometimes you want to interact with them, but sometimes you don't particularly and the toddler is just there because you didn't have anywhere else to put them, so keeping them quiet and absorbed is a good thing.

FourGates Mon 02-Sep-13 09:01:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JeanBodel Mon 02-Sep-13 09:01:49

YABU. Why on earth would I carry around with me paper, crayons and a box of lego when I can just give my child my phone?

I do not agree with a child bring left unsupervised to play on a phone/tablet for hours and hours. But using a phone to distract a hungry child for 15 minutes while we wait for the food arrive - it's the ideal device.

I cannot fathom why a restaurant is not a place for electronic devices. Sometimes we don't go to a restaurant for an enriching slice of family time. We go because the kids are starving and can't walk another step without food. I'm talking about Pizza Hut here, not The Ivy.

BlingLoving Mon 02-Sep-13 09:02:17

Yabu. iPads are the 20th century equivalent of crayons etc. like any tool however, they can be misused.

You have multiple gripes in your op. parents on iPhones while eating and ignoring their dc is a different issue to providing a small child with a phone or iPad to stop them from melting down over dinner. The former is of course inappropriate. The latter is just practical quite often.

MysteriousHamster Mon 02-Sep-13 09:03:02

No different to crayons really, most apps don't involve staring gormlessly at a screen, do they? You usually have to do something and there will often/usually be ways for parents to join in.

We prefer crayons/chatting, but also take small toys and resort to phones quite happily if it means we don't disturb other diners by our increasingly hungry child!


mikkii Mon 02-Sep-13 09:03:39

We do take "devices" when we go out, but DC (9, 6, nearly 3) are not allowed them immediately, and not while food is there.

Would you rather my bored toddler screamed while you are trying to enjoy your meal?

hairylittlegoblin Mon 02-Sep-13 09:04:04

And the example of normalising devices at the table. Surely by that arguement the use of crayons of books would translate into adults who read or draw during a meal? I think we can teach our children that expectations change as they get older.

Marrow Mon 02-Sep-13 09:04:57

Well aim is to have a nice meal out as a family. We have dd (8) with us who is not plugged into any devices! DS is very demanding and once he has started to get bored and fusses the IPad enables us (and other diners) to finish our meal in peace and enjoy our time with dd.

TheCraicDealer Mon 02-Sep-13 09:05:49

I don't have kids, but I know my repeated use of my iPhone and tablet has reduced my attention span drastically. I'm waiting in the dentists' now and MN'ing, I can't just sit and watch the world go by. To go through childhood were every minute you are constantly being "entertained" must really compound that for kids.

Faithless12 Mon 02-Sep-13 09:05:54

FourGates - how is crayon and paper different from a drawing app on an iPad? It involves just as much imagination...

LadyBigtoes Mon 02-Sep-13 09:06:06

I wouldn't take an iPad out, but I would let dc play on my phone, if they were bored/restless, and had nothing else to do while waiting for the food - not while eating. We might also do a quick text if necessary but phones get put away when food comes. I imagine other diners might prefer them playing something quiet to having a meltdown...

So YABU but it's just a question of degree - I think it's ok in moderation. But iPads playing telly programmes throughout the meal - not good.

hairylittlegoblin Mon 02-Sep-13 09:06:24

How is it lazy parenting to give a child a phone but not lazy to give them some crayons and a bit of paper?

chesterberry Mon 02-Sep-13 09:06:53

I agree that ipads, hand-held consoles and phones etc shouldn't really be used at the table (by children or adults) but, shamefully, I have to admit to being a person who has, when eating out, sat at the table using my phone whilst waiting for the food. The person opposite me has sat on their phone. No children to entertain, but still totally unsociable.

I hate it but since I got a smart phone a year ago I find it increasingly difficult to stop myself from my almost automatic reaction to pull it out and check facebook/twitter/the news etc during a lull in conversation. The amount of times I will be sat with friends and we will all be on our phones (sometimes even part of the same conversation over facebook messenger!) is kind of embarrassing. My smart phone broke a few weeks ago and, in the week it took me to get a new one, I went back to an old nokia and in lots of ways it was great not to have the world at my fingertips - meant I actually did stuff!!

hairylittlegoblin Mon 02-Sep-13 09:07:15

X post with Faithless

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