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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...

LoganMummy Mon 02-Sep-13 09:08:48

Totally agree with Bling.

We always bring crayons, mini puzzles etc but they only last so long. I have no problem in giving DS my phone so he can play games (usually CBeebies, colouring or counting) instead of running around the restaurant. We always play these games together so I don't see the problem.

Faithless12 Mon 02-Sep-13 09:10:07

hairylittlegoblin grin I'm watching this thread now with interest as I'm sure DH(illustrator) would be interested to know that he now must draw with only paper and pencil as otherwise he is not using his imagination shock

Sianilaa Mon 02-Sep-13 09:11:29

I think YAB a bit U.

My 4 year old was a bit challenging on holiday, out of his normal routine and comfort zone. Instead of a meltdown, the odd 10 mins of playing on my phone kept him entertained and stopped him disturbing other diners. We did try crayons, chatting, etc but he isn't fussed on colouring and it lasts two minutes. I don't see the problem with that tbh.

Having said that, I wouldn't let them play on it during a meal or for long periods of time without any interaction from us.

BlackberriesAhoy Mon 02-Sep-13 09:12:04

Phones/iPads are not the same as crayons/books etc. When a child is on an electronic device they are withdrawn from the social element of eating - and that includes the pre and post part of the meal.

Hobgoblin - it's not the same. Now (virtually) all adults have phones with them and by normalising the use of them at the table we ARE going to be raising a generation of children who consider it socially fine to text at the table, surf the Internet . Already I see teenagers and adults do it, how could you think that parents using screens to shut up their children is not going to have an effect in the future?

wonkylegs Mon 02-Sep-13 09:12:35

We mix up the entertainment - magazines, crayons, cars etc but also a bit of iPhone/DVD player.
Attention span of a toddler is about 2seconds even with adult input.
We have rules though - any other children at the table then no electronic stuff, no noise except with headphones, electronic stuff before OR after meal, we always sit and chat for a bit, choose food etc before electronics come out.
I don't think it's so much that it's a generation losing the ability to interact when out because you cannot compare the generations. When we were kids we rarely ate out in restaurants, now we got out an awful lot, either as a family or with friends.
I refuse to go to kiddie restaurants because if I'm eating out I want nice food so I have to be flexible in how I entertain my kids (& get them to behave) in an adult environment. My child is perfectly able to interact and does at many opportunities but there are times when a 5yo isn't going to want to discuss the state of the world, work, renovation plans etc.
FWIW I don't care what other people think as long as my DS is behaving well and not disturbing others.

usualsuspect Mon 02-Sep-13 09:12:47

Yabu, an iPhone drawing app is just the modern equivalent to crayons and paper.

Life moves on.

Some people don't like change, others embrace it. Do what you feel is right with your children and let others make their own choices.

I let my kids use my iphone/ipad in public. I couldn't give a gnats todger what anyone else thinks. Nobody elses business in the slightest. Plus we have colouring apps so there. Anyway of course you don't like ipads etc. You only like Blackberries. grin

DorasMummy Mon 02-Sep-13 09:14:52

YANBU. It does make me sad to see this. When we were on holiday pretty much every toddler (apart from ours) had an iPad/other tablet propped up in front of them at every meal in the resort restaurant (parents were a mix of Brits and other Europeans). I know it gives parents peace and the chance to talk, but surely at the age of 2 or 3 toddlers need to learn to sit at a table without constant entertainment and interact with the other people at the table.

I worry that kids will become totally reliant on passively being entertained, I do think there's a big difference with other kinds of activities. Crayons, Lego etc. involve imagination, discussion about what to draw/make and still allow for conversation (which Peppa Pig or a game app doesn't).

We have a blanket ban on using electronic devices to entertain the DCs as I fear they'd get so used to it that they wouldn't be able to sit at the table without them (I also fear my will power on saying No when I'm knackered and frazzled so would rather not start...) shock

cathpip Mon 02-Sep-13 09:15:24

The iPads come out when all else fails! But I do play with them on the iPad (jigsaws) oh and they are kept on silent. I don't want to hear sonic or angry birds whilst eating and I'm sure no one else does...... As pp have said iPads are the new versions of crayons!

Florin Mon 02-Sep-13 09:19:08

Electronic devices should not be at the table. We have a one year old so hard to keep amused however we take him out to a restaurant on a regular basis and he is extremely good, we have to work harder and keep him amused by ordering his food as soon as we arrive and then either give him bits of ours while we eat or sometimes order something easy to pick out like little prawns or something or put cut up grapes in one of those snack cups that keeps him busy. We also take a selection of books with lift the flaps and a few mega bloks to have if needed.
We went out to quite a nice restaurant a few weeks ago and while we were busy working hard keeping our son amused at the next table who had kids around 7ish they set up the iPad with Sponge Bob bloody square pants and let them watch it with the sound on! So we were paying quite a lot of money to sit it a lovely French restaurant with that in the background. Parents were reading the papers and on iPhones so I guess it was to be expected however it was so unfair to inflict it on everyone around them. I kept giving them death stares until they got the message!

MysteriousHamster Mon 02-Sep-13 09:20:05

OP, how is a drawing app different to crayons?

MorphyBrown Mon 02-Sep-13 09:21:40

But your example is a couple who ignored their child. It wasn't the toddler on an iPad confused

If you hand them to the child then it's no different from paper and crayons. In fact you can get drawing apps are the digital equivalent of an endless pad of paper and crayons.

Pantone363 Mon 02-Sep-13 09:24:06

People really carry crayons, Lego and mini puzzles around?

I call bullshit

midori1999 Mon 02-Sep-13 09:24:28

YABU. Not just because the child you mention wasn't even on a 'device'. hmm

We sometimes let my 2 year old watch something on my iPhone if out for a meal. Sometimes it's after exhausting crayons, books etc (if the meal takes longer than expected to come) sometimes it's because I forgot to pick up crayons etc and sometimes it's because I just want to sit and relax and enjoy my meal too. I spend the entire rest of the time entertaining my toddler, occasionally I want a break and my iPhone is usually (not always) a sure fire way of entertaining her so she doesn't disturb other diners.

Parents just can't win though, can they? Judged for letting toddlers scream or run about, judged for keeping them busy...

Faithless12 Mon 02-Sep-13 09:25:15

DorasMummy- " I do think there's a big difference with other kinds of activities. Crayons, Lego etc. involve imagination, discussion about what to draw/make and still allow for conversation (which Peppa Pig or a game app doesn't)."

It depends entirely on the app and the parenting. DS (2yr) loves an spelling app which is actually quite beyond him but we sit and talk about the letters and their phonetic sounds. Drawing apps - he tells DH he wants batman DH draws Batman and DS 'colours' him in. It's not the app that is inherently bad.

RedHelenB Mon 02-Sep-13 09:26:04

my grandparents would frown at lego or crayons in their day, life moves on YABU!

MinesAPintOfTea Mon 02-Sep-13 09:27:32

I only let DS use my phone when we're in public and him deciding to throw things around or yell about being hungry would cause disruption. At home its kept out of reach so I doubt its destroying his concentration span.

I do this because I like to go out for the day, which often means waiting for food to be served. At home when DS is waiting for food I distract, sing, let him bash cutlery etc, but when eating out keeping him quiet and contained is more important.

hazeyjane Mon 02-Sep-13 09:30:05

We always bring the ipad for eating out, we have 3 children - the ipad is so that we can all have a meal out together, without ds (3 with sn) disrupting the whole meal, it is a bit of an attempt at normality!

littlemisswise Mon 02-Sep-13 09:31:27

We never took Lego, crayons or toys when ours were small, we just took the kids. We spoke to them and played games like I spy etc.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 02-Sep-13 09:34:30

It's the modern world, it would have been crayons before.

Nanny0gg Mon 02-Sep-13 09:39:10

My DGC aren't in the least bit interested in crayons or colouring - always a fight at home.
Lego is easily dropped/lost.
IPad games can (and do) involve lots of 'Nanny, watch this!' 'Nanny, help!', lots of chat, lots of involvement. They are not left ignored, in the corner.

For whatever reason, however much 'discipline' is used, they don't want to, and will not sit for any length of time.

It's either the IPad or we don't go.

Tryharder Mon 02-Sep-13 09:41:23

TheCraicDealer said it really.

Since I got an iPhone, I am on it all the time. I annoy myself by being on it. I am unable to sit for even 5 minutes without doing or looking at something.

When I was young, we were expected to go on long car journeys with absolutely nothing to entertain us, not even the radio and certainly no food. My kids don't venture into the car without devices, DVDs, food and drink.

I have no idea if this is a good thing or a bad thing

waltzingmathilda Mon 02-Sep-13 09:49:36

Each generation moves along.

When I was a child it would have been deemed bad manners to have a book at the table, or indeed do anything other than sit sit there quietly and well behaved without any need for any 'entertainment' because we knew that when adults were speaking, you did sit there quietly, waiting to be spoken to. You did not whine, nag, moan, fiddle and general PITAs

By the time I had my oldest children, colouring pens were the norm or reading books. By the time I had later children, it was gameboys because everyone elses offspring had them you were opened up to The Whine.

Having been out with a my friend who has the worlds most attention seeking needy whiny 6yo brat ever put on this earth, plugging the little sod into an ipad is a blessed relief. Personally I'd like to plug him straight into the mains and do the rest of humanity a favour - but that makes me rather cruel doesnt it grin

Lottapianos Mon 02-Sep-13 10:00:17

'Lazy arsed parenting'

Agree completely. It's more convenient for the parents to avoid having to 'entertain' their own child so out comes the screen.

There is evidence that regular exposure to screens (TV, iPad, iPhone etc) causes problems with children's developing attention and listening skills, and language skills. Official advice (from the American Journal of Paediatrics) is that under 2 year olds should have no screen time whatsoever and 2-3 year olds should have only half an hour a day. So it may be more convenient, but it's not doing your child's development any good at all.

NoComet Mon 02-Sep-13 10:05:41

DD2 simply eats so little and so fast, that something to entertain her is essential if DH, DD1and me are to get a change to enjoy the meal we have paid for.

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