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At what age is it inappropiate?
iThings at the table

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#1 BadCat

Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:38 AM

It seems the trend to let kids play with ithingys at restaurants is well entrenched.  So I'm curious, at what age do people think it becomes inappropriate to allow kids to stick their head in a gadget while at a restaurant or cafe?

Edited by BadCat, 17 November 2012 - 07:38 AM.

#2 B.feral3

Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:44 AM

Interesting question.

I think that if it keeps them quiet, then I'm happy for them to play on my phone at a restaurant/cafe. That's if we're dining with just us though. If we are dining with friends of family, I don't find using an electronic toy at the table to be suitable at any age.

Double standards maybe but that's just me.  original.gif

#3 mumofsky

Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:44 AM

I generally say no to this. Dd is 11 and Id hate for it to impact her social skills - plus I think its rude to do that at a restaurant. I have allowed her to on the odd occasion where i know it will be a very long boring function.

#4 Apageintime

Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:45 AM

It seems I'm one of those strange people that never thinks its ok.

#5 Another one

Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:46 AM

Do you mean at what age are they old enough to be expected to sit and participate in the conversation at the table?

In our family that's now, we have no gadgets for them to bury their heads in, no iphone/ipad/gameboy etc.  If we go to dinner they are both expected to sit at the table and behave.  At most they will get pencils and some paper to draw with while waiting for the meal.  Even DS knows to behave or we stop - that is we go home and they don't get to come again.

Once finished DD is allowed to get down off her chair as long as she stays at our table and doesn't go near other people eating.  DS is allowed out of the highchair and on one of our laps -he can't yet be trusted to stay at the table.

We are mean!

#6 Gossipgirl

Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:47 AM

I don't have a problem if I am out having dinner and my kids start getting a bit bored to give them my phone to play a game I would much rather they sit quite and play on my phone that to start running around annoying the other people .

Would you rather a child sitting and playing on the phone than screaming and running off?

#7 Soontobegran

Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:50 AM

I think pre teens and teens should be able to sit and converse with the people they are out with.
I wouldn't take them out if they had to sit and play games of any type rather than be sociable.

I sometimes give my phone to my grand children to look at the photos if they are unsettled and have given our younger kids colouring books to use once they have eaten.....they never took game boys etc (which were the craze back then) If I thought they'd be bored then they stayed at home.
I have no issue with the fact that electronics are the new colouring book, even oldies like me can accept change but I think there is a time and a place.

#8 Just a marshmallow

Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:53 AM

I don't mind mu kids drawing/colouring when we are out as that is someting that does not close them off from other people.  They can still have conversations and take part in general discussions at the table (if apprpriate).

Electronic gadgets are a no because they cut people off from those around them.  And I also say no to reading books at a restaurant for the same reason.

#9 Mocha Coffee

Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:56 AM

My children are 7 amd 9.  We go out regularly and they have never been allowed to play on gadgets.  Of course when they were younger we took colouring books and little cars or ponies to keep them occupied if we were going to linger.  To me, it needs to be something they can look up from and be part of a conversation.

These days they rarely have anything with them.  I expect them to converse with us, the other adults or children present.

I am not adverse to them taking some photos or looking at photos on my iphone if the opportunity came up, but no game playing.  

We took them to Europe last year.  They had no gadgets at all and we ate out nearly every day.

Edited by Mocha Coffee, 17 November 2012 - 07:56 AM.

#10 kyrrie

Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:59 AM

My two are 7 and 9 and have totally missed this trend. They are too old  now to want to miss the conversation but I would think it would be around starting school. I can imagine DS would have been happier playing games a few years ago.

#11 BabeBlossom

Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:59 AM

I think by high school a child should be able to sit at a table and join in a conversation. To get to that point I expect they would need practice for a year or 2 before then.
If a child is always allowed to have their head in an electronic gadget how can they be expected to learn table manners and conversation.
I also think there is some responsibility on the parents at the table to include them in conversation that they would find interesting just as they would their friends or other family members. Obviously not the entire time but to be included for a reasonable amount of it.

#12 Soontobegran

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:00 AM

QUOTE (Gossipgirl @ 17/11/2012, 08:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Would you rather a child sitting and playing on the phone than screaming and running off?

No but giving them an electronic game at them is probably not teaching them that there is a time and place for playground behaviour. shrug.gif
I think we waited until ours were a little bit socialised before we unleashed them into a public eating facility.....having said that they were normal and still played up occasionally and I think we just went home, nobody else deserved to deal with them. original.gif

#13 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:03 AM

Hmmm I have double standards on this too I guess, he doesn't use my iPad for dinner at home...ever. If we go out with friends with kids...like a PP...I wouldn't give him my iPad, they all might do some drawing which I think is fine. If it is just DH and I and DS out for dinner we usually would give him the iPad at some point, his dinner usually comes with our entree, so we will all eat and talk (not, you know, simultaneously....)... Once our mains come he will play a game on the iPad, it means DH and I can talk about stuff without endless interruptions ..."why did your boss say that?" "What's redundant?" "Do ants have names?" ....sometimes in the school holidays he and I and the baby will go up to our local cafe ...I generally read the paper there so yes, he has my iPad there too.....not sure at what age I would want all this to stop....? We kind of have a mix of expecting him to converse at various times and then being quite happy for him to play games on his own. He tends to do the drawing game on my iPad or spelling games and such, so he's always asking for our opinion on things etc..it's not like he is silently locked away playing endless matches of angry birds or similar ...

Edited by Lucretia Borgia, 17 November 2012 - 08:04 AM.

#14 Imaginary friend

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:05 AM

I dont have an actual age limit (although I dont have an iphone or an ipad either so its a moot point for me really wink.gif )

But  I do think it is a matter of degree - I wouldnt expect any age to play ithing for whole time - a short cafe visit with family/other kids probably not neccesary at all - a longer restaruant adulty type outing, sure, after a while, child can be occupied on ithing (quietly wink.gif ) or paper book or colouring in pages or whatever.

#15 siemp

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:08 AM

DS is 4 and he is expected to interact with us at dinner - so if we are out he does not get any gadget.

We are eating out a lot at the moment as we are holidaying in the USA, he is given crayons and something to colour everywhere we go, Im ok with this as it usually becomes a 'family' activity - i.e. the adults join in colouring with him and we discuss the picture/letters/mazes etc... So he is still engaged and interacting with us.

I honestly believe the key to keeping a child well behaved and engaged during a meal out is by involving them in what is going on, it isn't hard to include them in conversation. If adults want to have an adult discussion and not include the kids (so they are just left sitting there to entertain themselves), leave them at home!

There really is no need to use electronic gadgets at restaurants (for us), we don't use them at home whilst he is waiting for dinner, so no real reason why he should just because we are out.

#16 JJ

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:12 AM

Seeing so many adults are glued to their phones just about every waking moment, I don't see why/how there should be an age where it becomes inappropriate for kids. shrug.gif It would depend on the situation rather than their age for me.

#17 BadCat

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:14 AM

QUOTE (Gossipgirl @ 17/11/2012, 08:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't have a problem if I am out having dinner and my kids start getting a bit bored to give them my phone to play a game I would much rather they sit quite and play on my phone that to start running around annoying the other people .

Would you rather a child sitting and playing on the phone than screaming and running off?

Yes but at what age do you expect them to be able to behave themselves without an i-babysitter?

I'm curious because I stopped taking toys to dinner when the kids were old enough to string together a sentence.  I understand that others want to do it for older kids than that.  But the number of teenagers I see with their gadgets at a restaurant has left me wondering whether most parents do actually put a stop to it at some stage.  My nieces and nephews never go to dinner without their gadgets and some of them are now in their 20s.  For the older ones it has morphed from game playing to "talking" to people who aren't at dinner with them, to the detriment of conversation at the actual dinner.

#18 kpingitquiet

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:26 AM

Yeah, we've allowed gadget use once at a "restaurant" (was actually a take-away burger joint that took 30 mins to make a turkey sandwich) but we were the only ones there. She got to play "Toddler Lock" for a couple minutes because we hadn't anticipated needing coloring books to pick up a takeout order. Aside from that, we prefer to discourage electronics in social settings. We could change our policy on that as she's still very young, but I doubt it as I get twitchy when anyone starts fondling their phones at mealtimes and feel restaurant reading is best reserved for couples doing crosswords over coffee on a Sunday morning or solo-diners amusing themselves with news or a novel.

If I had to put an age on it, I'd estimate your average 10-11 yr old should be able to get by without external entertainment of any sort. I was sure expected to by that age (younger, really) and we dined out fairly frequently, rarely in "family friendly" places.

#19 Soontobegran

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:27 AM

QUOTE (*magenta* @ 17/11/2012, 09:08 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm sitting in a cafe right now. Half the adults are reading on electronic devices and the other half are reading newspapers. No one is conversing. if adults can read at the table, why can't kids?

A quiet brunch which involves sitting reading the sunday papers is no different to using electronic devices but there are times and places.
An entire table of adults updating FB during speeches at my nieces wedding was pretty disturbing. How do we teach our children appropriate use if we don't know it ourselves?

#20 Pompol

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:29 AM

I find this thread fascinating.

On a recent holiday we were out for dinner with 3 yo DS and 1 yo DD. the (very large thai) restaurant was very busy and we had waited 30 minutes for our drinks, no sign of entrees yet.

We have a rule with DS, no ipad while we eat but if we are at a restaurant he can use it after dinner. That night we made an exception because of the delay. At the table beside us was a large group with a young child who at that point was playing under the tale. When we whipped out the ipad, one of the older men made a very loud comment about how rude it was, to which his wife (?) agreed, and a general discussion about bad manners these days (!!!!) ensued.

A few minutes later the child, who was maybe 4, came OUT from under the table and stood next to DS. For a few minutes they watched octonauts peacefully, then the child from the next table started swiping at the ipad. Tying to keep the peace I insisted DS let him have a turn, but he didn't just want a turn, he wanted the ipad for himself, and when our entrees finally came and i tried to put it away he had a gigantic tantrum and ended up almost knocking over our table.

All of this without any intervention whatsoever from his parents and presumably grandparents at the next table. I had to ask quite firmly for them to restrain him (the first time i asked, the parents called him and when he ignored them, went back to their meal - I had to really insist they move him away from DS). The whole restaurant was staring by that stage and the four year old was absolutely hysterical. We had our meal packed up for takeaway and we took the kids back to our room.

Manners are relative and individual, I am quite happy for DS to look at an idevice after dinner (and apparently before in some cases), but I would never in a million years let him crawl around under the table at a busy restaurant, let alone disturb other patrons like that.

I expect we will allow the ipad out at dinner until DS and DD are quite a bit older, but considering my nieces and nephews, can't imagine allowing it when they are say 10+.

#21 chookpea

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:33 AM

DS is 4 and an absolute nightmare when we go out to eat.
If I can get him to sit down and not be getting up and running around every few minutes, then I'll use it.
We're working on discipline so I'm hoping as he gets older he will be able to sit still and finish his meal and have a conversation with us.  We have some progress, but we're not quite there yet.

#22 siemp

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:37 AM

An entire table of adults updating FB during speeches at my nieces wedding was pretty disturbing. How do we teach our children appropriate use if we don't know it ourselves?

The ironic thing is they would have been saying what a wonderful wedding it was, how gorgeous the bridge looked and congratulating the happy couple. rolleyes.gif  Ah the lost art of communication..

#23 Feral Grey Mare

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:37 AM

QUOTE (Apageintime @ 17/11/2012, 08:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It seems I'm one of those strange people that never thinks its ok.

Where do I sign up to join your club? I don't think it is OK either.

#24 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:41 AM

QUOTE (Old Grey Mare @ 17/11/2012, 09:37 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Where do I sign up to join your club? I don't think it is OK either.

I don't know, I'm really struggling with this one now! (Thanks BadCat..and here I was thinking I was SUCH a good parent...) ...I remember going out to restaurants with my dad on his access visits, my sister and I always took colouring in books which we did at the table .....are iPads any different? Not being defensive here, I really wonder ...

When did we stop doing that? I don't recall my parents setting an arbitrary age for it, I think it stopped when we no longer wanted to do the colouring in and preferred to talk instead, so it was more child-led then parent-led...

#25 wombat

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:42 AM

It seems I'm one of those strange people that never thinks its ok.

Another member for your club.  Drives me nuts that some kids can't get through a meal without something to play with.

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