Restaurant Tries To Guilt Parents Into Handing Over Their Phones

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
Image via d3sign/Getty Images/Twitter/Emily Leary

A British restaurant chain is offering free food for kids — if parents hand over their phones

A restaurant in Britain is trying to guilt parents into giving up their phones during dinners out with their kids. An Italian-American style chain of eateries called Frankie and Benny’s is apparently using this shame-y gimmick to drum up controversy (and business), but no parent should fall for this guilting garbage.

Their offer states that if a parent hands over their phone in favor of “family time,” their kids get to eat for free.

You see, Frankie and Benny’s has proof that this needs to be a thing. Proof in the form of a survey they conducted themselves. Much science, such answers.

“A nationwide study has found as many as 72 percent of kids WISH their parents would spend less time on their phones and more time talking to them, while a further seven in ten insist their parents enjoy more ‘screen time’ than they do.”

The hell I do. That’s because I’m 36 freaking years old and have a job based totally on my use of the internet. Imagine that. I get unlimited screen time because I’m 1) paying for it 2) I’m no longer trying to get good grades 3) I’m an adult and I do what I want.

“Heartbreakingly, almost one in ten (8 percent) of British children have tried to hide their parent’s handset in a desperate bid to get their attention.” Wow, Frankie and Benny’s. You’re really going for it here.

They conclude with a lame attempt to induce parental guilt. “In a bid to get the nation to embrace and celebrate family time, customers heading to Frankie and Benny’s in December will be asked to hand their devices over at family meal times.”

LOL good luck. I’ll barely check my coat let alone give some judgy stranger the mobile device that contains basically my entire life.

Though to their credit, the chain realizes they can’t force anyone to part with their phones. It’s obviously not an actual ban, but the mere implication that a parent isn’t capable of policing themselves is enough to annoy. How dare they, TBH.

And, ahem, for those who whine about loud kids in restaurants? How in the hell do you think parents are able to keep them quiet? Can’t have it both ways, y’all.

The thing is, modern times means modern workplaces, and my workplace is entirely contained in my phone, just like it is for many parents. I do my best to focus on my kids when I’m not actively working, which means my phone is tucked in my purse during dinners out. That means if I do take out my phone, it’s because I really need to. So lay off.

Maybe that parent is only able to be out for dinner with their kids in the first place because their phone makes that possible, to still be “connected” to work, but to be able to have their family time too. In short, you never know why a parent is on their phone with their kids around and even if it is to mindlessly scroll Facebook? Who made this restaurant or any other sanctimonious parent-shamer judge and jury?

You do you, parents. Even if that means checking Twitter real quick while everyone chows on appetizers.

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