Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Everything about food, from matching food and wine to recipes, techniques and trends.

Moderators: Jenise, David M. Bueker, Robin Garr

Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Robin Garr » Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:07 pm

This parent feels embarrassed that he kept his kids busy with an iPad at an upscale restaurant. Why? Would you let your kids do this? Would you care if the kids at the next table did ... and were well-behaved and quiet? Why should this bother anyone? Let's hear it, curmudgeons! :mrgreen:

http://www.babble.com/kid/sometimes-you ... at-parent/
User avatar
Robin Garr
Forum Janitor
 
Posts: 17129
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm
Location: Louisville, KY

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Robin Garr » Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:30 pm

Oops, meant to post this in the food department! Moved ...
User avatar
Robin Garr
Forum Janitor
 
Posts: 17129
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm
Location: Louisville, KY

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Alan Wolfe » Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:00 pm

" ... they were just staring because we looked like the kind of parents that take kids to places where they don’t belong,... "

and that's the point. Dining at an upscale restaurant is, at least in part, an atmospheric experience that can be diminished or ruined by flashing lights and children, no matter how well behaved. If you're going to an upscale place and your children can't behave as adults, get a sitter and leave the kids at home with a pizza.

Is that curmudgeonly enough?
Alan Wolfe
On Time Out status
 
Posts: 2667
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 11:34 am
Location: West Virginia

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby David M. Bueker » Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:28 pm

Given that 50% or more of the people in just about every eatery on the planet (even the high end ones) are largely on their smartphones most of the time, I am not sure what difference an iPad & quiet child would make.

The classic dining experience went bye-bye a while ago.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
David M. Bueker
Riesling Guru
 
Posts: 22125
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:51 pm

I don't see a problem with this. iPads rarely emit flashing light that you can see anywhere outside a darkened room. These people were specifically invited to bring their kids, they did so, and they kept the kids busy and quiet while supper was served. That seems like a win for everyone in the restaurant as well as the parents and the kids.

In general, when I see parents with kids in a reasonably nice restaurant, and the kids are busy with phones or iPads, I don't mind it in the least. I do wonder why these parents are bringing the kids along in the first place when it's not something the kids are keen on doing, but it's no skin off my nose if that's what they want to do.

Once we get to the point at which no one ever lets a kid scream or run around a restaurant or make their table look like a miniature cracker factory that just exploded, then we can start complaining about kids quietly staring at an iPad.

"An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a very narrow field" - Niels Bohr
User avatar
Mike Filigenzi
Known for his fashionable hair
 
Posts: 6990
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:43 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Sam Platt » Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:10 pm

Had iPads been around when our kids were little I would definitely have used them as an entertainment device in "quiet places."
Sam

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are a small
matter compared to what lies within us" -Emerson
Sam Platt
I am Sam, Sam I am
 
Posts: 2329
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:22 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Robin Garr » Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:40 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:The classic dining experience went bye-bye a while ago.

In fairness, the linked article (in a casual mention that's easy to miss) says this was an upscale "chain" restaurant, so I'm assuming something like J Alexander's, but not Le Pavillon.
User avatar
Robin Garr
Forum Janitor
 
Posts: 17129
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm
Location: Louisville, KY

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Mark Lipton » Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:42 pm

We've taken our son to some very upscale restaurants since he was age 4. Part of this was predicated on his ability to sit still and behave well in such settings. Part of this decision was also based on the fact that, should he grow bored or restless during the course of a protracted meal (provided that he had finished eating his own meal, natch), he would be able to use his mother's iPhone to play games if he did so discreetly and quietly. (NB: we select our restaurants in part on whether a child would be welcome there, so this doesn't include the French Laundries and Troisgroses of the world). We have never received anything but praise for our son's comportment, including both fellow patrons and servers. OTOH, I have also observed families at neighboring tables in which every member, including the adults, is glued to some device and there's no interaction. That, IMO, is just sad. One of the ground rules for our son's presence at the restaurant is that he dine with us and interact with us from the moment the food arrives until the meal is over (with the caveat for the situation described above). In my book, I'd much rather have kids glued to electronic devices than running around or screaming in a restaurant setting, even a "family" one. Ideally, they'd be dining with the adults and behaving like adults, but I long ago adjusted myself to the fact that I live in the real world. :mrgreen:

Mark Lipton
User avatar
Mark Lipton
Oenochemist
 
Posts: 4335
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 2:18 pm
Location: Indiana

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Sam Platt » Thu Mar 06, 2014 6:01 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:...so this doesn't include the French Laundries and Troisgroses of the world.


Be honest, Mark. You just don't want to pop for that $250 kids meal. :)

Our kids always did fine at restaurants. The iPad would have been a welcome diversion in hospital waiting rooms, on airplanes, etc.
Sam

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are a small
matter compared to what lies within us" -Emerson
Sam Platt
I am Sam, Sam I am
 
Posts: 2329
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:22 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Bill Spohn » Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:09 pm

I'd settle for just muzzled and hobbled.....
User avatar
Bill Spohn
He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'
 
Posts: 5034
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm
Location: Vancouver BC

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Jenise » Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:28 pm

Oh my. Conflicting reactions here. First of all, I haven't seen kids using electronics in restaurants, though I probably would if I were to patronize chain restaurants which deliberately attract family business--they're successful because they do. And if I were in such a place and saw that, I want to say it wouldn't bother me. Anything's better than wild children. But if I were in a truly upscale place I might find, as Alan implies, that kids who are clearly not enjoying the experience to be a bit of a blight on the landscape.

I'd probably also be inwardly cringing: now I know I was fortunate to have been taken to nice restaurants when I was a child, but I loved it! It was exciting, not boring. No toys needed for me or any of my sibs.

But perhaps it's also true that my parents didn't just teach us which fork to use, they taught us to appreciate the experience. Neither of my parents grew up with such luxuries and we weren't rich, but this is what we spent our money on instead of fancy vacations. We kids didn't have the option of opting out--and I would look at that kid with his iPad and think that's what going on there. Not that the child's inattentive, but that it's the parents failing to make it interesting. I hear so many parents complain about kids with attention deficit disorders--don't electronics just feed it?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26369
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:30 pm

Children need to be managed by their adults. I have no problem substituting an iPad for a tantrum.

The behavior of the adults, on the other hand. is what dismays me. Others have commented on how many are glued to their slabs instead of partaking of each other's companionship. I am even more unhappy with dinner-plate portraiture - FLASH, FLASH, FLASH to you, too, bub. When you can keep the bright lights out of my eyes then you can play with your food all you like. Until then, get a clue that a restaurant is a shared social space.

I see similar behavior in Broadway theaters: We all paid big $$$ to see the show, not to listen to you swap twaddle with your pal. And a theater is not a living room! Don't bring those curry-flavor nachos anywhere near me because I don't want to smell them, or you, all evening long.

Happy, Ms. Stone? :lol:
Jeff Grossman/NYC
That 'pumpkin' guy
 
Posts: 2843
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:56 am
Location: NYC

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Bill Spohn » Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:09 am

I used to get pretty agitated when people would take a cell call while in my office.

Then I smartened up. When we are in conference and a cell call comes in and they say 'excuse me I hope you don't mind but I need to take this', I always say "No problem at all. I charge by the hour. Please feel free to do whatever you like, at $250 an hour.

That is usually the last cell phoine they ever take in my presence.

:twisted:
User avatar
Bill Spohn
He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'
 
Posts: 5034
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm
Location: Vancouver BC

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Mark Lipton » Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:11 am

Sam Platt wrote:
Mark Lipton wrote:...so this doesn't include the French Laundries and Troisgroses of the world.


Be honest, Mark. You just don't want to pop for that $250 kids meal. :)


Perhaps you've got a point there, Sam. When, for my 50th, we traveled to Barcelona and went out to dinner at El Celler de Can Roca, we did leave our son at home with my mother. Most expensive babysitting arrangement of life, but as Edith Piaf said...

Mark Lipton
User avatar
Mark Lipton
Oenochemist
 
Posts: 4335
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 2:18 pm
Location: Indiana

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Jo Ann Henderson » Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:14 am

I was lucky enough to have children who never threw a tantrum, ever. A restaurant was always an opportunity to engage our children in the activity of a good restaurant experience. We always made a game of them trying to do their own ordering. Then there was the experience of new flavors or foods that we talked about. In other words, if we took the kids we engaged the kids, no need for distractions. Guess I would be much the same today. No iPad!
"...To undersalt deliberately in the name of dietary chic is to omit from the music of cookery the indispensable bass line over which all tastes and smells form their harmonies." -- Robert Farrar Capon
User avatar
Jo Ann Henderson
Mealtime Maven
 
Posts: 3147
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:34 am
Location: Seattle, WA USA

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Jenise » Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:53 am

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote: I have no problem substituting an iPad for a tantrum.


I don't either. But I don't accept that those are the only two options! :)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26369
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Sam Platt » Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:52 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:Most expensive babysitting arrangement of life, but as Edith Piaf said...


Did you sing "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" aloud on viewing the credit card bill? :)
Sam

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are a small
matter compared to what lies within us" -Emerson
Sam Platt
I am Sam, Sam I am
 
Posts: 2329
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:22 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Rahsaan » Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:16 pm

Jo Ann Henderson wrote:I was lucky enough to have children who never threw a tantrum, ever.


You mean no tantrums in restaurants? Surely they threw one or two tantrums elsewhere. Unless you had drinking water laced with sedatives in your house!
Rahsaan
Wild and Crazy Guy
 
Posts: 6961
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:20 pm
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Mark Lipton » Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:28 pm

Rahsaan wrote:
Jo Ann Henderson wrote:I was lucky enough to have children who never threw a tantrum, ever.


You mean no tantrums in restaurants? Surely they threw one or two tantrums elsewhere. Unless you had drinking water laced with sedatives in your house!


Rahsaan, our son never threw a tantrum if one uses that term in its traditional sense. He would cry and a few times was inconsolable for a while but never acted out in the way that I associate with the term tantrum. Kids are just wired in such different ways and we ended up with a "no drama" child. Now, if only he'd eat more vegetables... (I got him to try an asparagus spear last night, but it was one bite and yeuuch)

Mark Lipton
User avatar
Mark Lipton
Oenochemist
 
Posts: 4335
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 2:18 pm
Location: Indiana

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Karen/NoCA » Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:47 pm

Depending on the age of the child I see no issue with it. Once the kids are older, say by the time they are 7, and have been exposed to good training, they should be able to sit quietly, and talk with parents and other siblings. Spending a few minutes on an iPad while waiting for the food is no different than using the crayons the restaurant brings or participating in a game book. We groomed our three to go with us to fancy restaurants, because we wanted them with us when we traveled. At home, if we want a fine dining experience for the two of us, we made a fun night for the kids too, with their favorite sitter, a movie and a pizza. They loved it and we loved the evening. Even with our grandchildren now, when they are coming for a visit, I always remind them to bring their techie toys, just for those special times, grandpa and I want some quiet moments, especially in the car, RV or a nicer restaurant.
Karen/NoCA
Hunter/Gatherer
 
Posts: 5264
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:55 pm

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Rahsaan » Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:07 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:Rahsaan, our son never threw a tantrum if one uses that term in its traditional sense. He would cry and a few times was inconsolable for a while but never acted out in the way that I associate with the term tantrum.


I wasn't aware of 'the traditional' definition for tantrum and we've always used it to refer to the periods of crying and being upset over issues that seem pretty minor to an adult. But if it is more narrowly applied to a violent rage then I guess it makes sense that not all kids experience them.

On the original subject, we don't have an ipad and don't give our son any extreme babysitting devices when we go out to restaurants. But he's still only 3 and often wants some form of specialized interaction if it's going to be a long multi-course meal, whether from a book that we read together or a break to get up and go to the bathroom. That said, who knows how things will develop as he gets older.

I tend to think that an ipad-type distraction for a family dinner is not ideal, but if you're bringing your kid along to dinner with several of your friends and where the child will not really fit into the conversation, I could see it being more appropriate there. (I remember some folks bringing their small kids to offlines in the pre-ipad days and having them be occupied with coloring books...)
Rahsaan
Wild and Crazy Guy
 
Posts: 6961
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:20 pm
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Jenise » Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:15 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote:Depending on the age of the child I see no issue with it. Once the kids are older, say by the time they are 7, and have been exposed to good training, they should be able to sit quietly, and talk with parents and other siblings. Spending a few minutes on an iPad while waiting for the food is no different than using the crayons the restaurant brings or participating in a game book. We groomed our three to go with us to fancy restaurants, because we wanted them with us when we traveled. At home, if we want a fine dining experience for the two of us, we made a fun night for the kids too, with their favorite sitter, a movie and a pizza. They loved it and we loved the evening. Even with our grandchildren now, when they are coming for a visit, I always remind them to bring their techie toys, just for those special times, grandpa and I want some quiet moments, especially in the car, RV or a nicer restaurant.


But, it's really not about the age of the child, is it, vs. the type of restaurant in which this is done? Completely agree that it would be no issue in a restaurant that provides crayons or toys for kids, but I would classify those as family restaurants vs. the adult-or-behave-like-one environment of upscale dining described in Robin's link.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26369
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby David M. Bueker » Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:16 pm

I remember Larry Stein's child tucked in the corner of King Fung in Boston, coloring away while bottles flew around the room! :mrgreen:
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
David M. Bueker
Riesling Guru
 
Posts: 22125
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

Postby Rahsaan » Fri Mar 07, 2014 3:26 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:I remember Larry Stein's child tucked in the corner of King Fung in Boston, coloring away while bottles flew around the room! :mrgreen:


Yes, I didn't want to splash his name, but that was a regular occurrence in Bay Area offlines as well!
Rahsaan
Wild and Crazy Guy
 
Posts: 6961
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:20 pm
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Next

Return to The Forum Kitchen

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests