March 31, 2013

"I don’t want to give them the iPads at the dinner table, but..."

"... if it keeps them occupied for an hour so we can eat in peace, and more importantly not disturb other people in the restaurant, I often just hand it over... Do you think it’s bad for them? I do worry that it is setting them up to think it’s O.K. to use electronics at the dinner table in the future."

110 comments:

Renee said...

Why not stay home or get take out? Problem solved.

Moose said...

Very much a first world problem. I suggest giving them heroin. Keeps them calm and compliant during dinner.

bagoh20 said...

I give em Valium. Cheaper - same effect.

tim maguire said...

Is giving them an ipad different from giving them a coloring book?

Dante said...

All I have to say is that a lot of the modern day movies are too much for me to watch. They make me nauseous, like the "Hunger Games," when they spin the camera around, or switch scenes back and forth quickly.

I read that rats exposed to rapidly changing images changed the structure of the cerebral cortex compared to rats not exposed. I would guess you have to be indoctrinated by modern TV to be able to watch it without getting sick.

But that's OK. Some want to experiment with alternative families, without studying first. Patrick Moynihan warned back in the 1960s about black families and single (female) headed households. But no one listened. Despite the statistics, still no one pays much attention other than the traditional marriage folks, mostly religious folks.

And now some want to normalize homosexual marriage, and see what happens to those kids, again without any knowledge or evidence of what it means.

Some people would say "Reckless." Others would say "Hey, this is progress, loading up debt for our experiments on the next generation that will suffer for it." I hope the next generation doesn't lose its way too badly.

Sometimes, there's no going back.

Freeman Hunt said...

This post just gave me hypertension.

Freeman Hunt said...

If my husband wants me to launch into a long tirade, he'll mention something like this and then take a seat to listen.

mrs. e said...

Good point, Tim. I would say, no. At a certain age, we'd bring a notepad and draw out a dot-grid and play that complete-a-square game - adults and kids. It helps create a fun conversation...

Ann Althouse said...

Isn't it at least impressive that the adults are able to eat a meal without using electronics?

a SWVA liz said...

Get to know your children??

Freeman Hunt said...

Why give them anything at the table? Civilize them! That is your sacred charge. Talk to them at the table. Include them in the conversation. If you're talking about something they are incapable of discussing, they can listen and learn.

There is no fighting over a fork.

Freeman Hunt said...

As for crayons, if they use those at least they are actively engaged and there is usually interaction with the other people at the table.

tiger said...

Yeah it's bad and you're a bad parent for

1) coddling your children
2) not enforcing standards of bahavior
3) not being the adult.

Your children are going to turn out bad and are most of the way there now.

Carol said...

Sounds like my afternoon with the in-laws; practically everyone playing with their iPhones while bantering about some shit, except me. Even the husband got out his stupidphone.

They seemed to think it peculiar that I just sat in the sun and stared into space. I used to feel self conscious about doing that, but now I think I'll make it my Thing. I will be Weird Old Lady Without Device.

tiger said...

'Ann Althouse said...
Isn't it at least impressive that the adults are able to eat a meal without using electronics?'

Gee when was the last time you were out and about?

I see young adults/couples out to eat that can't even let go of their phones.

Auntie Ann said...

We had a tin of colored pencils and a folder of paper we'd take with us everywhere. Kids drew a ton and kept quiet. Worked wonderfully.

But, you have to have kids who like drawing.

bpm4532 said...

expensive pacifier for a failure of a parent.

Alex said...

Microsoft says ouch to this story.

Tom said...

I'll admit I'm totally hooked on my iPad and IPhone. Seriously, my name is Tom and I'm an I-aholic - that type of hooked. It would be a crime to give that kinda crack to a kid just to keep them quiet.

Alex said...

How can one include small children in adult conversations? It's bullshit. Might as well give them iPads to mess around on.

Alex said...

Seriously this story reeks of luddite-ism. What will happen in 10-15 years when everyone at the table is immersed in their own Google Glass experience?

LilyBart said...


TEACH them to behave.

My older sister taught me by example. When her kids misbehaved at a restaurant, she took then outside, got inches from their face, and told them she EXPECTED them to behave. Failure to behave would lead to punishment and loss of privileges. When she and her kids came back, they were well behaved for the rest of the meal.

You have to make good on these promises from time to time - kids figure out pretty quickly if your threats are 'empty'.

I used this technique on my kids too - it works.

Ben said...

Yikes, are ipads waterproof now or do these kids never spill their water or milk as often as mine do?

Oso Negro said...

Among the younger set electronics at the table is not considered bad manners at all. Last year I was traveling with a group of five from two different companies. At a lull in the dinner conversation, the 20-somethings whipped out their iphones and checked out. They obviously didn't think it rude. I am 56 and I would never have considered whipping out a magazine and starting to read at a business dinner when I was their age. Times have changed.

Alex said...

Lily - the larger story is how Apple created a device so magical that just handing it to a misbehaving kid instantly shuts them up. What it points to that technology will become more powerful then parenting.

Alex said...

Oso - GET OFF MY LAWN!

pm317 said...

One of the joys for me as an ex-immigrant (hey, I am a citizen just like you now) observer was to see well behaved kids at a table in a restaurant but interested in eating and being with their parents -- I always marveled at that. With most other Indian parents that seemed impossible, with their ineptness at controlling/calming their cranky children. What is wrong with these lefty liberal parents?

ALH said...

"I recently watched my sister perform an act of magic"

No. You just watched your sister prove that she is a poor excuse for a parent. Her 4 and 7 year old children performed the magic- getting to eat out AND play on the Ipad at the same time. They learned a valuable lesson: Mom is weak. She will cave.

Every time I doubt my parenting skills, something like this reminds me that at least I am still the parent, not the child.

somefeller said...

What is wrong with these lefty liberal parents?

Yes, because we all know that liberal parents are the only ones who will give their kids electronic toys to pacify them. Once again, what hath Obama wrought?

BaltoHvar said...

Seems obvious - if the kids can't behave in public, then the parent (in this anecdote) should not take them out.

Tactically, the kids should also be at opposite quadrants at the table. Then they WOULD be interrupting the meal if they act out at each other. Then there is public shaming, first by letting them know (believe) EVERYONE is watching. If that doesn't work, then "Check please" and no iPad for you Mister/Missy.

And then - at what point does corporal punishment enter into it. My parents had no compunction, no matter the setting.

Yeah - I know...

Paddy O said...

"Isn't it at least impressive that the adults are able to eat a meal without using electronics?"

This is why I don't have even a smartphone. I want to get away from electronics and I've yet to hear a reason why I actually would need one except to keep up with everyone else.

However, phone companies hate people like me which is why they hardly offer any non-smart phones anymore. They've convinced everyone else they need to have all that entertainment and immediate access, and people are more than happy to pay whatever they can to fulfill this need.

Of course, what did people do in the old days? They got mad at their kids and had terrible evenings when they went out. So, probably all in all less psychologically damaging for kids to have the ipad.

Alex said...

Paddy - bullshit. You can easily obtain feature phone on a prepaid minutes plan from T-Mobile.

Lydia said...

Freeman Hunt said…
Why give them anything at the table? Civilize them! That is your sacred charge. Talk to them at the table. Include them in the conversation. If you're talking about something they are incapable of discussing, they can listen and learn.

Yes!

And my grandmother would have used pretty much the exact same words. Are you sure your avatar is showing the real you? :)

rhhardin said...

Sitting for hours until peas are eaten would be a lot more fun with an ipad.

ALH said...

Lily -
spot on.

When our kids were pretty young, we used the word "expect" often. They didn't have to like what we were doing. They didn't have to smile. They could feel however they wanted. But we "EXPECTED" that they would be polite and respectful, etc. They learned quickly.

My other favorite method is "choices and consequences". If they make a bad choice, they face a consequence (no 1st, 2nd, 3rd warning).

ricpic said...

When I was a kid we used to have long conversations about current events at the dinner table, whether eating at home or eating out. I'm sure I filled the air with many fatuous statements but my Dad and Mom always responded as if to an adult and the conversation continued, all through the meal. I can remember what a total shock it was to me when I had dinner at my best friend's house and the whole thing was done in the awful blue glow of a TV, no conversation from start to finish. This probably made me a freak. Or is a country where the majority don't sit down together and converse the freak?

Oso Negro said...

Alex, I am not bitching about it, I just thought it was interesting.

pm317 said...

Yes, because we all know that liberal parents are the only ones

They think they are the once asking these "hard" (and oh, don't forget intellectual) questions in life for the NYT.. instead of raising their child the way they see fit.

Petunia said...

Why not just teach them proper table manners? Four is old enough to learn. By seven, good manners should have already been learned.

edutcher said...

The word manners ring any bells?

We didn't go out that often, so it was big deal and I was expected to behave.

Problem is, what kind of example do these kids see?

somefeller said...

What is wrong with these lefty liberal parents?

Yes, because we all know that liberal parents are the only ones who will give their kids electronic toys to pacify them.


Once again some phony folksy feels obliged to play the arrogant moron.

The issue is the kind of people to whom the gray Lady caters wouldn't dream of correcting their little darlings.

along with an example, a little negative reinforcement is sometimes required.

Once again, what hath Obama wrought?

GDP of .4% mean anything?

Dogwood said...

“I don’t want to give them the iPads at the dinner table, but..."

Then be a parent and don't give them iPads.

If you can't control your children's behavior when they are seven, then God help you when they become teenagers.

Good grief.

Aridog said...

Ann Althouse said...

Isn't it at least impressive that the adults are able to eat a meal without using electronics?

tiger said...

Gee when was the last time you were out and about?

Asked and answered.

I dine regularly with my daughter and her friends [age 35-45 =/-] and they-are-all-addicted-to-their-farking-iPhones. So is everyone else in the places we eat...since lately we've on a "foodie binge" visiting everyone's favorite places, (Best so far has been Asian/French fusion)...you can see the faces of everyone at tables around you just in the smart phone glow.

Joe said...

When I was a kid, my siblings and I would have our noses stuck in a book. Except my youngest brother who eventually had one of those awful LED football games that made no sense.

tim maguire said...

You're a failure as a human being if you don't do it just like my grandmother did and you're a failure as a parent if you can't take away everything a small child would like and still have your small child sit still and quietly for long periods of time.

Gotta love the parenting threads!

Lem said...

This is why I don't have even a smartphone.

Resistance is futile.

Tari said...

Even my kids get disgusted when they see other children unable to go anywhere without an iSomething. While they are fairly fond of their own iPads, they know good and well that those are for use at home in their free time only.

We started eating out with them when they were infants, and while there have been trips outside because someone couldn't sit still, etc, I can only recall 2 instances where we had to leave because the bad behavior coudln't be resolved. I think we got here in part by accident: we took the boys to age-appropriate places and disciplined them when needed. We just never imagined it would work another way.

At 13 and 10 they are more often than not) a delight to sit down to a meal with, be it at Five Guys, a fancy restaurant, or at home. Why would you cheat yourself out of that as a parent? Trust me, it wasn't that hard: if it had been I likely wouldn't have been so successful at it. :)

Methadras said...

As long as 'your' kids shut up and behave themselves then I don't see a problem with it. Now, the fact that you have to do this whenever you go out is a problem.

Nomennovum said...

If your kids can't behave themselves in a restaurant without distractions, don't take them anywhere but MacDonald's and Chuck E Cheez's. Simple.

Lem said...

Opening day dandy in Houston...

Rangers 0, Astros 0 in the 4th.

JAL said...

Parents who have little choice but to hand over their iPad can at least control what a child does on those devices.

Massive FAIL.

"Parents who have little choice ..."

Oh. Puhleeease.

A 4 year old and a 7 year old fighting in a restaurant?

There are quite a few choices in this situation.

Freeman, keep it up. You know -- all these folks have the smartest kids in the world -- they are remarkable! But they can't learn to behave themselves?

They can *behave* without the electronics.

Alex said...

In 15-20 years people will be complaining about people immersed in virtual reality glasses instead of conversing at the table. The cycle never ends.

Alex said...

See her sonny boy.. I remember when we just used to glance at our iPhones during dinner, but now there are these new-fangled virtual reality glasses and they ruined everything!

GET OFF MY LAWN!!!

NotquiteunBuckley said...

"How can one include small children in adult conversations? It's bullshit. Might as well give them iPads to mess around on."

Thank you for asking.

What you do, is you adapt. Humans are good at it.

You change the conversation to adjust for the fact their are children learning from it.

You teach, expound, and re-learn all at once.

What you don't do is Horace Mann or Penn State any kids.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

What you do is, you use "their" thinking of the children and claim, when looking back and thinking "I should have used 'there'" with some degree of remorse, FUCK YOU IT WAS FOR THE KIDS.

THEIR.

Bob_R said...

The idea that a four and seven year old should sit quietly stating into the middle distance while the adults at the table have a conversation without them creeps me out a little. Teaching them to do this is probably good training for various adult jobs - academia comes to mind - but it's not really to my taste. If the kids are being involved in the conversation they should be taught to converse in a civilized manner. But if they aren't going to be included (and there is no need to include them in every conversation) they should be allowed (and expected) to amuse themselves - the kids table and big gatherings, coloring books and iPads at restaurants seem fine to me.

Gabriel Hanna said...

hey

Paddy O said...

"Resistance is futile."

I know. At some point, maybe not in 2013, maybe not even in 2014, but at some point, I will be assimilated.

Paddy O said...

"obtain feature phone on a prepaid minutes"

Yes... for money! More than I'd spend on a standard cell phone--prepaid or otherwise. Plus, the phones are expensive and I don't want to have email everywhere, and sometimes I don't want to be found or find out where I am or check in so that people on facebook know what restaurant I'm at or play mindless games when I can, and should, be staring at trees and..................
.............................
....................................

traditionalguy said...

Seeing rudeness is a traditional reaction to others at the table joining some other conversation digitally. It seems to be as strong as our expectation to be heard and responded to.

That is an expectations that this generation just doesn't have.

IMO like the gay marriage issue, if we can't beat them then join them in accepting it. My relationship with my genius grand daughters comes first.

Alex said...

Paddy - you realize feature phones = what we used to call "cell phone". It just does calls and text messages.

Alex said...

Bob - you nailed my view on kids at the table perfectly.

Jane said...

I finally got to go out to dinner with my husband after years of being cooped up with the kids, and I had to listen to "Dora the Explorer" from an iPad behind me.

Head explosion.

jr565 said...

somefeller wrote:Yes, because we all know that liberal parents are the only ones who will give their kids electronic toys to pacify them. Once again, what hath Obama wrought?

This is anecdoatal based on my own observation and not necessarily the definitive answer, but liberal parents in general seem to think that its their job to be their kids friends and not their parents. They are very ucomfortorable being the parent and, for example, spanking their kids or eeven telling them they can't do something. This is more true with white liberals who seem particularly ineffectual when it coms to discipling their kids.

Alex said...

Jane - don't you know that attitude makes you a danger to America?

Paddy O said...

you realize feature phones = what we used to call "cell phone". It just does calls and text messages.

Oh, I didn't realize that. That's the phone I want. Seems like they're featureless, but still, that's better.

And yes, I've looked at the prepaid plans for whenever my old phone quits on me. It just adds up when you have a few people in the family.

creeley23 said...

They are very ucomfortorable being the parent and, for example, spanking their kids or eeven telling them they can't do something.

jr565: A friend tells me that few parents spank their children because of societal disapproval and because the kids could snitch to Social Services and get the parent int a huge amount of trouble.

Is this true?

jr565 said...

creeley23 wrote:
jr565: A friend tells me that few parents spank their children because of societal disapproval and because the kids could snitch to Social Services and get the parent int a huge amount of trouble.

Probaby true. But i usually find that it's liberals pushing the idea that any corporal punishment is abuse and arguing as such.

Craig Landon said...

It's all hearts and roses until the kids start Googling 'see [favorite teen idol] naked'.

SukieTawdry said...

When I was growing up, we kids at all ages sat through cocktails (usually two), dinner and coffee and dessert. We were expected to behave and there was hell to pay if we didn't. We talked together as a family. We reminisced. Our parents were interested in our lives outside the family and encouraged us to talk about them. l'll never forget the first time my father ordered me a glass of wine instead of a Shirley Temple. I was 16. The wine was a rosé.

whoresoftheinternet said...

http://stuffblackpeopledontlike.blogspot.com/

Dante said...

While we are concerned about i things at dinner tables, I'm reminded of a Christopher Hitchen's statement about Seoul. Hundreds (thousands?) of artillery batteries are ready to pound Seoul with weapons, including with chemical weapons, and perhaps even nuclear weapons. Even Alaska is in reach.

We ought to remember that things weren't always this easy, and at one time things like freeing the slaves and other Civil rights movements had big costs in American blood.

Let's hope the order after WW-II and the mostly bloodless cold war survives a bit more, for all our sakes.

For a while, I thought 9/11 would provide some perspective about the nature of man and the world, but as we continue to throw away the future for fancifull dreams of perfect equality, while the rest of the world gears up, I have to wonder.

Nini said...

If the kids are really uncontrollable, take them to a specialist. They may have ADHD attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Bob_R said...

I notice that not many people seemed to bother commenting on the "substance" of the article - the question of whether iPads are some new insidious form of entertainment that will rot the minds of the next generation. It's just too predictable. Those of us of a certain age have been through moral panics about comic books, television, video games, cell phone - and of course texting while breastfeeding. Panics over rock and roll records have come in multiple waves - Elvis, the Beatles, Black Sabbath (Metal, take 1), Rap, Marylin Manson (Metal, take 2). Those are just the ones I remember. (Of course, my mind has been rotted by television and rock and roll, so what do you expect.)

Was there a moral panic over radio? Was it going to corrupt our youth and lead to their destruction? I don't remember reading about that.

Dante said...

Was there a moral panic over radio? Was it going to corrupt our youth and lead to their destruction? I don't remember reading about that.

Yes, there was. And it's all been downhill ever since.

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carrie said...

"Parents who have little choice but to hand over their iPad can at least control what a child does on those devices." Are they kidding-parents who have little choice but to hand over their ipad???????????It seems to me that the choice should be to ban their kids from having ipads until they can learn to function without them.

Scott M said...

My goodness (clutch pearls here)!

Whatever did parents do with children before portable multimedia and free wifi hotspots?

There's a very simple way to defuse conflict between children in a restaurant settings. You absolutely must sit parent-child-parent-child. If you're at a square four-top, put them opposite. If you're in a booth, put them facing each other and diagonally.

Your dining experience is a chance for your children to use the table manners you're supposed to be teaching them at home.

acm said...

Eh. The fact that the kids magically shut up when the iPads appeared says to me that it's not a regular occurrence. Kids don't get that excited about something they use every day, even the scary new-fangled electronics. When I see kids handed a phone or tablet, and they hand it back and resume whining after a few minutes, that's when I tend to think the devices are overused, or the kid is attention-starved or spoiled. No, kids shouldn't have toys of any kind at the dinner table most of the time, but then most dinners with 4 year olds shouldn't last an hour or include conversation that he or she can't participate in. But this wasn't a typical Thursday dinner at home, it was an hour long dinner in a restaurant, so the kids couldn't simply be excused early (like they might've if their uncle had been eating dinner at their home, or they at his) where the adults wanted to have a conversation that didn't include them. There's just nothing wonderful about expecting preschoolers to just sit quietly bored with nothing to do but eat for a solid hour.

MadisonMan said...

The solution to this "problem" -- where the sister wants to chat with her sister over lunch -- is to leave Luca and Willow (ugh is all I can say about the names) at home with Dad.

There. Wasn't that easy?

Matt Johnston said...

When I see something like that, I think only one thing. The parents are unable to engage their children in any kind of conversation.

If you are taking your kids out to dinner then engage them on their terms and challenge them on your terms.

If you want to go out to dinner and have an "adult" only conversation, then don't take the kids.

SGT Ted said...

There's just nothing wonderful about expecting preschoolers to just sit quietly bored with nothing to do but eat for a solid hour.

If the 4 YO can't handle dinner out, then baby sitters of the human kind are in order. It used to be at an adult restaurant, if your kid couldn't act like one for an hour, then they stayed home.

carrie said...

Kids learn more when their bad behavior results in consequences (i.e., leave the restaurant when they start to fight even if you haven't finished the meal), not rewards (i.e., getting what they want which is their ipad). But it can be embarrassing to have to impose consequences in public, so I can understand why parents give in in this day in age when most parents give in.

Aridog said...

Fascinating thread. How about a informal survey of Althouse readers/commenters on just how many ....

1. Own iPhones and/or iPads? The genuine i-products, or high end clone other brand?

2. How many owners keep them with them at ALL times and respond immediately to each and every signal that a new message has arrived? Have you ever texted from a toilet seat? Why?

3. Do the adult owners do this [#2] when at dinner or otherwise in company that is primarily oriented to conversation between those in company? [...e.g., it's not your party, so why do you invite the uninvited to the party?]

4. Buy iPhones and/or iPads for their kids? Really?

5. How old are your kids when you equip them with iPhones and/or iPads ...or high end clones?

6. Are they allowed to use them anywhere at any time? Do you also allow them to go commando and run around naked if they choose? Do you encourage them to fart loudly and point fingers at others? Do you also encourage them to pee in various bushes along pathways or sidewalks...I mean, it IS a nature thing right?


PS: I confess that I have purchased iPads or high end clones for several people so far [6 and climbing] and yet do not own an iPhone, or other "smart" phone, or iPad or tablet myself.

I am very aware where the smart phone can be very useful, near necessary, in certain circumstances and vocations. However, I am retired and not a OBGYN, nor Neuro-surgeon, nor police officer, et al...and not yet so senile I can't find my destinations by automobile without a ditsy electronic voice talking to me.

I realize that I am a relic who grew up during and post WWII with nearly no toys, and whose kid grew up before small portable computing devices were common place...and no, she was not encouraged to fire up Guns & roses on a Walkman at dinner.

How did I/we survive?

TosaGuy said...

Multiple iPads?

This person lives better than the previous generation.

acm said...

Leaving a boring restaurant, where your mom is having a boring conversation with your boring uncle, is not a bad consequence. And, frankly, I don't see why letting a kid amuse himself on an iPad for an hour (after he politely greets his uncle and engages in conversation for an age appropriate amount of time) is somehow going ti spoil him more than having a human being paid to amuse him at home for an hour.

TosaGuy said...

"Whatever did parents do with children before portable multimedia and free wifi hotspots?"

Most parents didn't haul their kids around like luggage while trying to maintain their pre-kid social life.

The iPad is the symptom of the problem, not the problem.

Aridog said...

Probably not a good thing to do [I'm prone to that...]...BUT, when my daughter was young, between 5 and 10 years of age, I encouraged her to listen carefully to what others at our table said, and then to tell me about it, with any questions, after dinner at home. Whether she thought it funny, weird or just confusing, it was a great conversation point between us. Main thing: We'd made a deal that neither of us would lie to the other, ever.

Awkward moments were to be exercises in rational thinking and explanation. She's 40 now and the no-lying rule still holds. I am still the person she will come to if the topic is too sensitive initially...although I now encourage her to give selected others similar trust...I am not going to be here a whole lot longer.

acm said...

@Aridog, my husband has an iPhone, and I have a different smartphone. My sons got tablets from their grandparents for their 11th birthday. The boys are much too old to be allowed to play with their tablets, or read or draw, at the table, even when it is a boring dinner out, but when they were very young (under 8) they were allowed to color, read or (after age 4) play on mtabley phone or Grandpa's tablet when we were out at lengthy dinners in public. They had to first greet their relatives politely and eat a reasonable amount when their food came. The distant relatives still got to see the kids, and chat a little bit (which is plenty, most adults don't want to talk to a cousins' six year old for more than five minutes) which wouldn't happen if the kids were with a sitter at home, and the kids weren't expected to behave in age-inappropriate ways. We had roughly the same rules when I was a kid, only minus the electronics---chat politely, eat your food, then you may read or draw while the adults have boring adult talk. If cousins close in age (my kids have none, but I had a few) were around, then no books or coloring were needed, as the kids were seated together and could entertain each other.

acm said...

I also don't think wanting to have a nice dinner out, with your brother from out of town, is "hauling your kids around trying to have your pre-kids social life".

Aridog said...

TosaGuy said...

Multiple iPads? ... This person lives better than the previous generation.

If you're talking about me, read carefully...the iPads and Android tablets are not for me. I have no use for them.

But yes, I do live better than generations prior to mine and after mine. I am aware of what grand things we have now. My first 5 years were during WWII...toys were something you either made or did without.

They do however make great gifts for someone like me who seldom gives gifts to give away and when I do it's for no special occasion...always because I just see something I know someone else will like, or may need, so I do it. Anonymous would be fine if possible...and sometimes it is possible.

I've funded laptops with voice recognition software for wounded soldiers and Marines, anonymously, because it made me feel better...I recall my time in an Evac Hopsital next to a guy burned over half his body and severely disabled at the time....and all we could do (those of use in the same quonset ward) was collect our pain meds and give them to the burned guy to relieve his pain and let him sleep....his screaming and moaning after PT sessions was heart rending. It STILL is...you just DO what you can. And today, technology allows us to do so much more for less cost.

You just do it for anyone you see who could use the assistance, or device, or distraction from sadness in their life, or whatever. You don't have to be rich...and I am definitely not rich.

I quit smoking a while ago and you'd be surprised what you can do with the extra $450 per month that frees up?

Shanna said...

I will not let my nephews use my phone if we are out eating because their hands are dirty. Sometimes they can have it before or after the meal.

But man, they love playing games on phones. I try to think of how much fun it would have been when I was a kid to have that at your fingertips all the time and not get annoyed but one of them has just started saying 'phone' when he wants my phone and I've started saying other random words like 'chair' 'ceiling' or whatever and he just looked at me like I was crazy the first few times and then he finally asked, I explained, and he's started asking more politely.

Aridog said...

acm ....believe me, I don't mock anyone who has an iPhone or iPad ...everyone close to me personally has one or both.

However...I do look down on those who cannot set their devices aside even momentarily. Ever. If they are not in a critical job and on duty, put the damn thing down...it really will record your incoming nonsense and you can see it or hear it later.

About the 2nd or 3rd time someone at the dinner table just has to check his texts and send some he or she is saying "you all mother fuckers are not really worth my time." At that point, especially if the tab is on me, I am inclined to tip over a water glass in their direction, or wine glass, to watch them dance in their chair to avoid the water or wine.

The real urge would be to bitch slap them, but that'd be rude ya' know.

Basta! said...

When I was looking around for cats to adopt this last time, I noticed that every 3rd female cat at the shelters had been named Willow by the staff --- a name I'd never heard applied to a cat before. Ah, Fashion.

Will it seem a perversity of fate if little human Willow becomes a chubbette

Michael McNeil said...

Multiple iPads? This person lives better than the previous generation.

I remember reading a story about Steve Wozniak. Back during the 60's when he was a teenager, the smallest computers were so-called minicomputers that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars — the price of a nice home. Wozniak told his dad that when he was grown up, instead of a house, he'd live in an apartment — and actually own a computer! The rest is history, as they say.

TosaGuy said...

"TosaGuy said...

Multiple iPads? ... This person lives better than the previous generation.

If you're talking about me, read carefully...the iPads and Android tablets are not for me. I have no use for them."

Not talking about anyone in particular, just joining two thread topics.

TosaGuy said...

"I also don't think wanting to have a nice dinner out, with your brother from out of town, is "hauling your kids around trying to have your pre-kids social life"."

It's all about the restaurant where people chose to meet.

Aridog said...

Michael McNeil said...

I remember reading a story about Steve Wozniak. Back during the 60's when he was a teenager,...

I recall the 60's well, in college, hours at the key punch machine and more hours in line to input the cards to the IBM 360 in the Admin Building. Gave the statistics instructors an excuse to make the assignments ever more complex...so we could learn to be better key punch operators doncha know. Do-not-miss-it-one-bit.

Yes, this generation lives better than previous ones in all respects technical. I think I misunderstood that comment the first time around.

However, I live in an urban setting, a couple hundred yards from a bad as they come Detroit ghetto. I live among immigrants who basically arrive with nothing.

So yes, PART of this generation lives better, but not all of it by a long shot. I don't want government to give it all to them. We neighbors can help and should. My last two tablets bought as gifts were for two young men who never could have acquired them on their own...at least not when they need it most, in school. They earned them in my eyes.

We've done the same thing for strangers...it feels the same, satisfaction for making a life just a little bit better. The fact I am still here, capable of typing, not eating worms, is because others did for me, preserved my life, and I learned...we are never alone. There is always someone worth a hand....so pay it forward.

Aridog said...

TosaGuy said...

Reference: "I also don't think wanting to have a nice dinner out, with your brother from out of town, is 'hauling your kids around trying to have your pre-kids social life'."

It's all about the restaurant where people chose to meet.

No argument there from me. Places where the dining etiquette is formal, ...leave the kids at home. Whacha tryin' ta do....deprive babysitters from their wages, eh?

LordSomber said...

More and more it seems adults aren't only publicly airing how bad they are at parenting but trying to justify it as well.

LordSomber said...

This is not a "moral panic" or Neo-Luddism. It is criticism of people's behaviours in conjunction with any new technology.

I always thought it was a reasonable rule of thumb to go by the old rules/etiquette until new ones came along.

There were rules about phones at the dinner table long before there were mobile phones, for example.

I don't know why this is so hard to follow. I guess saying "You're a Luddite!" does give one some finger-wagging satisfaction whilst drawing attention away from one's own boorishness.

Smilin' Jack said...

Trust me, if you're a parent, your dinner conversation is soul-crushingly boring. If your children prefer iPads, congratulate them on their good taste.

Beau said...

How can one include small children in adult conversations? It's bullshit. Might as well give them iPads to mess around on.

Exactly! What is the difference with this and a kid reading 'Harry Potter' at the restaurant table?

Clyde said...

Given the number of adults that you see at restaurants pecking at their smart phones, giving the kids the iPad is no longer a big deal. We've become a society where everyone goes into their own personal zone at any opportunity. That's just how it is these days.

Freeman Hunt said...

Our two older sons, ages four and six, love eating at restaurants, and we provide no entertainment. We just talk. It is fun for all of us. I cannot relate to this idea that a child would just "stare off into the middle distance."

acm said...

Freeman, my kids enjoy the eating part, and the whole thing when it's just me, dad, and them, or me and Grandpa and them---but then we don't linger forever and we talk about people and things they know about, and we're all used to each other, so the conversation is interesting enough to them. A few times a year, a lingering dinner with people they don't know well, talking about things and people (eg high school friends, relatives they haven't met) they don't know about is boring, and reasonably so.

Aridog said...

Clyde said...

Given the number of adults that you see at restaurants pecking at their smart phones, giving the kids the iPad is no longer a big deal. We've become a society where everyone goes into their own personal zone at any opportunity. That's just how it is these days.

Very true...and v-e-r-y sad. How boring to be focused solely on your personal zone...not to mention dangerous. If something bad is heading you way, you will not see it coming. You will also miss opportunities to help others, so focused on yourself as you are. It is just sad.

Aridog said...

acm said ...

... , a lingering dinner with people they don't know well, talking about things and people (eg high school friends, relatives they haven't met) they don't know about is boring, and reasonably so.

Which is why baby sitters are a better solution than a $600+ e-toy for a kid at the dinner table...at those times even the best behaved kid will suffer the screaming meanies.

Only thing worse is when you take you kid, with their friends, to someplace like Chuck-e-Cheese where they are animated, excited, and delighted while you nearly expire from boredom...unless the place had a Galaga Video Game...and served beer as some do.

PS: At the time I had a full sized arcade version of Galaga in the living room (hey, it was the 80's...had a rock garden too, and only a single 10 inch TV), so the kidlet became very good at it.

acm said...

I think what's not being addressed here is that the rules are different for adults and kids. It is rude for an adult to pull out an iPad or a book when out to dinner with others, no argument from me. But then, it's also rude for most of the adults in a gathering to talk about topics that will make one or two of the others feel excluded. At most dinners, most parents follow that second rule and talk to each other and the kids in a way that is inclusive, so the issue of iPads, books or crayons doesn't come up. Once in a while, like when a relative invites you out to dinner to see the kids and catch up with the adults, parents aren't terribly inclusive in their conversation. Since they are indulging themselves, they let the kids indulge themselves.

Also, I didn't get the impression that the author was talking about a really fancy place----if it truly was, then, yeah they might be better left at home. Any restaurant is boring when the people at your table are having a conversation that excludes you.

acm said...

Aridog, I disagree. The kids should still see their relatives, shouldn't they? Kids usually enjoy the first little bit of a lengthy dinner, they're just ready for it to be done sooner than the adults. If they're at home with a sitter, they're even more indulged---instead of amusing themselves for a while after hugging Uncle Whoever and Aunt Kisses, they get 90 minutes of hanging out with a person whose only job is to amuse them. Babysitters are great for date nights, but for avoiding a simple reasonable-hour dinner with your visiting relatives? Nah.

Aridog said...

ACM...I concede, where the others at dinner are relatives, certainly. Or even just good family friends from far away.

I let that slip in my skull because I no longer have any relatives alive, other than my daughter, and it isn't a consideration.

I am never the less, irritated if a smart phone or tablet, actually probably more for the smart phone, is yanked up mid dinner. No matter who is attending the dinner, relative or otherwise. Unless it is one of my cop friends, who have reasons [they almost always let you know of the potential] to respond to a call or text, I consider it the same as peeing my my shoe.