This Mum's Fuming Rant About iPad Kids Shows Why It's Still Parenting's Most Divisive Topic

"Surely this is shockingly bad for the children?”
children using computer tablets on sofa
Peter Cade via Getty Images
children using computer tablets on sofa

What I’m about to talk about is probably one of the most controversial debates in parenthood. I know I’ve been a part of many conversations where this topic has come up and I have mixed feelings about it.

The topic in question – iPad kids.

One mum took to the internet to make her feelings clear about witnessing something ‘shocking’ while away on holiday at a resort. She said she had seen toddlers and kids on their iPads for their entire meals.

The parent went on to criticise the lack of social interaction with their parents and staff, questioning if this was any good for the children.

On the Mumsnet post she wrote: “Away in a resort. I am shocked by the number of children on iPads for the entire sitting of a meal. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Buffet to fine dining. From toddlers upwards.

“No social interaction with parents or staff and mindless eating whilst inhaling cartoons. I understand that parents want a bit of a break but surely this is shockingly bad for the children?”

Before being questioned whether she was a parent herself, in another post she wrote: “Surely we haven’t lost the run so badly that the majority of children aren’t capable of being behaved for long enough to eat a meal and give it their full attention!? And before someone asks, yes I do have children and yes they are with me 6 and 9.”

Of course, her rant caused a stir and parents were quick to criticise her, one said: “Had you considered the possibility that their parents were concerned about disturbing other diners and brought a distraction? Plenty of people are quite happy to moan about ‘badly-behaved’ children in public, after all.”

Another shared their personal experience of raising an autistic son: “If my autistic DS didn’t have his phone or tablet (with headphones in of course) then he wouldn’t be able to have meals in restaurants at all. As it is we love going out for lunch together. He is on his phone watching videos of trains or whatever, I am reading a book on mine. We are fine and not doing you any harm, mind your own business.”

Another criticised the parent for being judgmental, stating that parents rarely get to go out so if it helps then it shouldn’t be an issue.

“Massively judgmental op here. Do you even have kids? Parents rarely get to go out, putting the kids on iPads whilst waiting for food keeps them quiet, it prevents disturbing other guests, and it’s quite rare. We’re not talking daily.

“You need to stop judging others and ask yourself why you think you’re so high and mighty that you can judge when you’ve no idea of people’s circumstances. It might be the only meal the parents get out”, they said.

However, there were parents who agreed with her original post and dubbed iPad and phone kids the product of lazy parenting.

One wrote: “I saw a baby still in a baby car seat holding a phone 5cms from his face the other day. Parents are lazy now. On the most part I don’t care but THEY HAVE TO BE ON SILENT. Otherwise it’s just bloody selfish and incredibly rude.”

Another even suggested alternatives to distracting kids with a device, they said: “This is a pet hate of mine, it’s so depressing to see people ignoring each other staring at screens whilst shovelling down their food.

“From babyhood we always took an age appropriate toy, activity, card game or book with us so our daughter had something to do whilst we waited for our food, never needed a device. She’s 6 and we still do this.”