Parenting & Family

Swiss Chalet last night- whole family on devices, thoughts?

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  • Feb 7th, 2018 12:08 am
[OP]
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Apr 16, 2002
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Swiss Chalet last night- whole family on devices, thoughts?

Made me so sad. Went to Swiss Chalet with my mom and my kids to celebrate daughter's 6th birthday.

Table behind us was a mom with 3 kids (approximate ages 6-10). All of them, mom included, were on devices right until food arrived. Her on phone, kids all on ipads.

I work in tech and still believe it is important to limit screen time. Having family discussion is crucial for bonding and hearing about the other person's day.

What do other people here think?
"I felt a great disturbance at KFC as if millions of chickens suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced." RFD user stephroll
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Dec 30, 2005
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I dunno man, if I had to watch three kids alone I wouldn't want some stranger judging the 15 minutes of quiet time I manufactured for myself before I have to get them to eat their vegetables that I'm paying for.
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Jun 8, 2008
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We've done this before when we've been travelling and have access to wifi for the first time :) As a rule, nope nope nope.
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On the one hand, the idea that people are glued to their screens rather than engaging in face-to-face conversation feels off. On the other hand, I try not to jump to conclusions or pass judgement on others based on my feelings without any research or evidence that their actions are actually causing some measurable damage.
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Aug 26, 2002
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I wholeheartedly agree. And it's not just kids... Often we see couples or groups of friends at a table and each of them are on their own cellphones.
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My thoughts? You should have been focusing on your own dinner table, your family, and your daughter's birthday, rather than monitoring the screen time of some other family. If you were fully engaged in your family, you would hardly notice what some other family behind you was doing, I'd suggest...

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My son is autistic. You can't tell until you get to know him. You can't have a conversation with him. That is what makes me sad. You try to talk to my son and he won't answer back. He has no idea how to answer back. When we're out at a restaurant he'll play for a few minutes, he might write or do puzzles for another few minutes, and then need his tablet until his food arrives.

You can't judge just by looking unless you know the family. Maybe the mom just needs a small break because she's with 3 kids all the time by herself.
Last edited by ds2chan on Feb 1st, 2018 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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And some families just aren't talkers. My cousin, his wife and his kids are exactly like that - having a conversation is like pulling teeth sometimes. But they still love coming to all the extended family events and does everything together.

Then you have kids like my daughter who seems to be on her phone 24/7 yet will also talk your ear off at the same time.
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Think of the Childre…
Welcome to the 21st century.

WOULD SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!
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My teenage daughter struggles with social situations. She finds places like restaurants overwhelming and functions better when she can narrow her focus to her phone or whatever. Most people are understanding and tolerant.
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sprung wrote: Made me so sad. Went to Swiss Chalet with my mom and my kids to celebrate daughter's 6th birthday.

Table behind us was a mom with 3 kids (approximate ages 6-10). All of them, mom included, were on devices right until food arrived. Her on phone, kids all on ipads.
I'm generally with you, OP. Not just families, but in any setting, I really hate it when people at a table or gathering are stuck to devices. I understand excusing yourself for a minute to pay attention to something important/time-sensitive, but to do it in the presence of others is putting up walls. I find that a lot of people who are close and familiar to each other may run out of things to discuss or talk about...but even just quiet interaction, eye contact, etc. feels more natural.

Having said that, if it was a mom (no partner or another adult to help manage), she may have been exhausted and would rather allow the devices to entertain them and/or keep them calm and happy.
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Swiss Chalet? Bleh... Clearly bad parenting all around.


Seriously, kids should be conditioned to put away devices during social times. But given that it was a mother with 3 kids with no partner in sight, I'm sure she's happy to get some quiet screen time.
Last edited by joeyjoejoe on Feb 1st, 2018 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
[OP]
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joeyjoejoe wrote: Swiss Chalet? Bleh... Clearly bad parenting all around.
Where else do you suggest that does a decent free full-size meal for kids on their birthday ?
"I felt a great disturbance at KFC as if millions of chickens suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced." RFD user stephroll
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sprung wrote: Where else do you suggest that does a decent free full-size meal for kids on their birthday ?
You're right. This is RFD, so feeding kids for free is part of good parenting.
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Can't judge a family by just looking at them.

A lot of people are on a 'limit ipad for kids' high horse and frown upon people that let their kids browse on an ipad all the time. That's all dandy if your kids would behave and play with one another or whatever, but each kid is different and until you have to deal with them all the time, I have to remind myself not to judge. They could have been out the whole day and very exhausted, mom could be sick and would rather have everyone be quiet.
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I was at a Keg a few years ago at Yonge and Eg. Family of 5, looked upper middle class from the area (I was renting there at the time). The 3 kids ranged from 10-16 it seems. All had steaks, sides, parents with bottle of wine. The whole time, they didn't talk, kids were fiddling with their foods as if they eat this all the time and don't like it. Basically the rich family type that don't seem to talk or get impressed with anything.

But no devices so at least they were somewhat concentrated on each other.

But in general I agree. A 6 year old on their own device for an extended period does seem conducive to anti-social type behaviour (as probably the older siblings too). More recent studies linking screen time and anxiety/depression. But that family hardly seems that out of the ordinary compared to how it is with other families as well.
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Post reminds me of my dumb cousin's post on facebook:
At McDonald's with my daughter; 6 out of 6 parents around me on their phones, talk about pathetic parenting.


Oh the irony.

These devices are causing the "alcoholic parents" of our generation. Putting their kids 2nd to their addiction.
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How is this different from people sitting in front of the television during dinner? It created an entire industry, without it, there would be no Swanson’s TV dinners
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Gee wrote: How is this different from people sitting in front of the television during dinner? It created an entire industry, without it, there would be no Swanson’s TV dinners
I'd say very similar but there's still a minor difference. Families that would watch TV would at least do it "together". You can at least talk about the show/game. Families on devices are doing it individually. I'd argue TV dinner families still have an edge. Either way, doesn't make it good.

Whenever people talk about parenting techniques people go straight on the offence or defense. Why can't there just be a discussion about the techniques, methodology, goods and bads? Why is there an assumption of judgment and high horses?

Put aside the family situation, number of kids, good day/bad day, etc. In 2018, there is a high number of devices being used at the dinner table and the number will continue to grow. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Personally I think it's a bad thing. I'm guessing in the near future we will be seeing studies that analyze the effects of the heavy usage of devices at the dinner table. I'm guessing they're not going to be positive. Of course I could be wrong.

It's not to say some parents are bad. It's not to say I'm a better parent. It's an observation of the effect this has on personal and family characteristics and behavior.

I have lots of nephews / nieces that are device dependent. In general they are very poor eaters. Eg. 1 batch barely eats because their family rule is no devices until you're done eating. So they rush eating to get to the phones and will only scarf down the bare minimum to feel satisfied. They also struggle to wait for a meal because it is agonizing to be without the screen. Restaurant eating is now quite difficult to manage.

Meal time is hard for almost all families. I get that. My family struggles too. We have our rules. We don't always follow them.

I know a family where they started letting their kids watch TV during dinner whenever mom or dad had a rough day so they could get a break. Then they started letting their kids watch TV during dinner whenever the kids had a rough day. But every day is a rough day really for someone in the family, so the truth is they are a family that watches TV during dinner. OK fine, it's their family and their call as it works for them. But no need to trying to justify why they do it. If you do it every day, it's the norm, not the exception.

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