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AIBU - mobile phones at parties...

(34 Posts)
gribak Sun 22-Jan-17 20:12:01

My DD had a birthday party a few weeks ago, 11 and 12 year olds, they went on an outing and then back to our house for a sleepover (8 friends in total.) 2 girls arrived with mobile phones, the rest didn't. The few hours out was great, but when we got home, the two girls with phones proceeded to spend the whole next hour or so on Instagram sitting together on the sofa and in my DDs bedroom on their phones, not joining in or talking to anyone else - apart from talking to each other. The rest of the kids were trying to include them, but they were just disinterested. At times I turned the wifi off and then they joined in, but as my DS was studying for college and needed the internet for work, I couldn't switch the wifi off for long. Getting fed up at their rudeness, I then nicely said "5 more minutes on all phones, then we have them in for the rest of the sleepover. " They were fine about handing them in, and from then onwards everyone had a great time.

I would like to avoid this happening in the future - has anyone dared to say on invites "please no mobile phones?" The 11/12 year olds seem so addicted to Instagram, and I just wanted my DD to have an old fashioned party where they all actually spoke to each other, rather than stare at screens!


Lilaclily Sun 22-Jan-17 20:16:26

It wouldn't bother me at all, I'm surprised only two of them had them tbh

I'd only have have asked them to leave them all downstairs at bedtime

harderandharder2breathe Sun 22-Jan-17 20:41:12

I'm also surprised only two had them tbh.

The girls were fine when you asked them to give in their phones and joined in with the others. What's the problem?

longdiling Sun 22-Jan-17 20:44:54

Yep, I'm also surprised only 2 had phones. And they gave them up without a fuss so I'm not sure why it's a big problem?!

Magzmarsh Sun 22-Jan-17 20:46:57

Also surprised only 2 had phones. Not condoning or condemning but this is how they entertain themselves these days so you will have to get used to it op.

gribak Sun 22-Jan-17 20:48:35

OK maybe I am being unreasonable then.... I guess that this was happening at 5pm early on in the party, there was disco music and lights, games going on, food being served, birthday cake and candles etc - it was a birthday party, and two girls were just on their phones the whole time non-stop, totally distancing themselves from the group. Even leaving to go into another room. My daughter was noticing that they were being quite cliquey, just not making any effort to join in, and I guess I was upset on her behalf that this was happening, as she was so excited for her party and she wanted everyone to have fun with her. I would understand if this was later on in the evening when things had calmed down, and everyone had been there for a while, but it wasn't - it was still the main party.

I feel it was rude - I hope one day my kids don' think when they are adults that it is Ok to go to a friends party event and spend all that time staring at a phone. Is this what we are teaching our kids?

Magzmarsh Sun 22-Jan-17 20:53:10

Nobody "teaches" their kids this, it's modern life, it's what they do. I'm not particularly enamoured of it but I have no control over it and neither does any other parent of teen dc.

longdiling Sun 22-Jan-17 20:58:07

I'm not a fan of attempting to teach or parent kids who are guests in my house. It's hard enough doing that with my own kids! Absolutely make that a rule for your dd - don't let her have a phone/take it to parties with her as you see fit. Banning other kids from bringing phones over feels like overstepping the mark to me. I think you handled it well by simply asking them to hand them in. I would have changed the WiFi password personally.

hettie Sun 22-Jan-17 21:16:13

magz do you really have no control over this? Who buys the phone/paid for the contract. If my DC were so rude as to use those phones in that way I'd be cancelling contracts/stopping cash..... These after early teens, their ONLY 'earning' potential is their parents. Not sure if I'd enforce normal social norms on other kids, but I'd definitely let them know that it's socially unacceptable. I'd do this as a courtesy because these poor kid clearly needed an adult to guide them in what I'd and isn't acceptable.....

Allthebestnamesareused Sun 22-Jan-17 21:18:00

What hettie said

longdiling Sun 22-Jan-17 21:24:07

Phones/screens are absolutely ubiquitous here. Honestly from a very young age kids have them and take them everywhere. I have seen 6 year olds at bouncy castle parties sat playing on a ds!! Youth club, music club, they all take them. It's bonkers. I dislike it strongly but I have had to reluctantly accept that if I impose restrictions on other kids then my own children run the risk of their friends simply not coming over here to see them. I will say though, when my 12 year old's friends are here with their phones they are very sociable with them - they mostly make videos with them and I can hear them chatting and laughing together as they use them.

twofalls Sun 22-Jan-17 21:25:40

Change wifi password and don't give it out to guests.

And what hettie said. We have a "no device at the table rule" and all friends have to abide by it.

Magzmarsh Sun 22-Jan-17 22:07:11

What long said

gribak Sun 22-Jan-17 22:09:58

Interesting to hear perspectives, and I must stress again, that if it had been just a normal sleepover amongst friends/friends coming over to hang out, I would really not have minded. I have older teenagers, so I know how it is...

But how have we got to the point where we think it is OK for our kids to be totally antisocial on someones special day, at their birthday party, which is only once a year, into which everyone has put effort and expense - and also to feel we have no control over that? The more we think this is OK for kids to be constantly on phones in this situation - will they one day be adults who think it is acceptable to be on their phone the whole time when they are at a restaurant with friends for example.

We also have no phones at the table rule - for adults and kids, phones handed in in the evening for a while too so homework can get done, they have to ask before going on the computer or xbox. These are younger tweens/teens, my oldest is an adult this year so his is just a no phones at the table rule. I guess we all have to set our own boundaries somehow...

Magzmarsh Sun 22-Jan-17 22:16:04

I'd like to make it clear that I don't think it's "ok", it's undoubtedly rude and anti social but it's very difficult to police it without your dc being ostracised by their peers because at your house you say they're not allowed to do it. My 2 teens are older (19 and 15) and actually talk to their friends when they're them. I work with younger children and it's more prevalent with them, they seem to grow out of it (mostly) 😁

SpartacusWoman Mon 23-Jan-17 00:17:47

The more we think this is OK for kids to be constantly on phones in this situation - will they one day be adults who think it is acceptable to be on their phone the whole time when they are at a restaurant with friends for example.

Tbf and ime, adults are just as guilty for pissing about with phones at social gatherings.
Every family meal out with dhs family all the DC, aging from two to 18 put phones on silent and keep in pockets, while many of the adults piss about on Facebook. Looking round other tables is similar, adults messing about or constantly "checking" phones on the table.

We went to see Saturday night take away live last year, first concert type thing I'd been to in years and the constant glare from adults posting on Facebook in the seats around me was irritating.

dds friends bring their phones at sleepovers etc but they are not glued to them, they mainly use them to play music. I'd not give them the password until party is over and they are chilling or whatever next time, but it may not stop them if they have a data plan.

I don't think I could ask for no phones on an invite, some parents may decline if their DC like to know they can text or call home if they get upset and I guess there's also the issue that the kids won't want to come if they can't do something at yours that's common amongst teenagers (and loads of adults from what I've seen.)

glitterazi Mon 23-Jan-17 01:13:16

Tbf and ime, adults are just as guilty for pissing about with phones at social gatherings.

I agree with this. I have a phone and internet addiction myself, but when I'm out I like to actually appreciate the fact I'm out and actually enjoy just "being" there. As in, being present in the actual moment and enjoying it.
I went to a live band a few months ago and people were just watching through the screen of their held up mobile phone. confused
Just why? If you want to see stuff through a screen, why now stay home and watch telly instead?

Katinkka Mon 23-Jan-17 01:32:15

Kids don't need your wifi password. They'll have some data in their plans. Mine do. I've never asked anyone for their wifi pw. Do not understand why this advice of changing the password is given out constantly.

longdiling Mon 23-Jan-17 02:25:57

Not all kids have it. And most are reluctant to use it up. The kind of stuff my dd uses her phone for eats up data fast - The idea of changing the WiFi password is clearly relevant here as op said turning the WiFi off stopped them using their phones.

mmgirish Mon 23-Jan-17 06:01:42

Don't give anyone the wifi code???

Butkin1 Mon 23-Jan-17 21:12:49

Difficult one as it only gets worse. DD (13) went to a disco/sleep over birthday party but we needed to collect her at bedtime (about 10.30pm) as we had an early start the next morning. When we got there the parents showed us into the lounge where they were all sitting around quietly tapping away on their phones. I think so many of them have to "work" to keep their Snap Chat streaks going that they dedicate hours to this cause. I think it's strange but then I'm old and realise things have moved on. DD certainly knows how to converse and does so - particularly with her sporty friends but phones are their way of communication. I also agree that Wifi Passwords won't stop them as all her group have 2gs of Data in their packages..

irregularegular Mon 23-Jan-17 21:23:06

I think it's a shame, and I don't think there is anything wrong with asking for the phones to not be used for (at last part of) the party. There are plenty of environments where people are asked not to used phones. Once the girls get over any initial surprise, they will probably have a much nicer time as a result.

It's harder when they get a bit older. My daughter is 14 and hates it when her friends are on their phones rather than watching a film properly. But she doesn't feel able to ask them to stop and probably wouldn't welcome me interfering either. I would at 11/12 though. And I'd probably also tell the 14 year olds if we were eg at a restaurant.

Reality16 Mon 23-Jan-17 21:57:16

Oh god no you have no right whatsoever to try and dictate what other parents allow their children to have.

My twelve year old would not be going to a party and definitely not a sleepover without her phone so she could txt me if she wanted to. Also I like to check she is happy before I go to bed

harderandharder2breathe Mon 23-Jan-17 22:01:42

It's not that it's ok, but as soon as you did something they quite happily stopped. If you weren't happy you should've stepped in sooner.

mommybunny Mon 23-Jan-17 22:20:50

My 9yo DD went to a sleepover this weekend where the host and the other invitee spent all their time on their iPads (I hadn't allowed DD to bring hers). Next time she is invited to a sleepover I'm going to mention that DD won't be bringing her iPad. I've done it with play dates DS (11) has gone on and the parents have welcomed it. It means they don't have to worry about policing it. One of DS's friends doesn't have any sort of device and when DS goes to his house they play board games! DS is very happy to leave his itouch at home and go play board games and play outdoors.

As an adult in charge of minors in your home OF COURSE you have the right to dictate when or if they are on phones when in your home. I wouldn't invite the child if any parent who thought otherwise.

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