A Sydney restaurant owner has declared a ban on iPads and iPhones suggesting that parents ought to interact with their kids and if they can't then they should "just stay home".
Oh, and he's banned colouring books, board games and building blocks too.
Attila Yilmaz, the owner of Pazar Food Collective, a Turkish-Mexican fusion restaurant in Canterbury, says he instituted the ban because he wants parents to "engage with their children" and for families to be "involved with the food and experience".
You know what I want when I go to a restaurant with my two kids? A damn break.
A break from having to cook at home and get a lukewarm response, a break from having to wrestle my kids off the X-Box to the dinner table, a break from the bickering during the meal, a break from the refusal to eat anything green and, last but not least, a break from having to clean it all up afterwards.
Do I get this when I go to a restaurant? Yes — mainly.
The kids still won't eat anything green but that's okay. I don't order them anything. They still argue — but not as much — and I do not have to do a thing at the end of this extravaganza aside from pay for the pleasure.
And on that, given I pay for the pleasure, I expect a certain level of freedom to do as I please including my kids bringing an iPad to the table if I am cool with that because you know what? My kids, my rules.
Do I allow them to play with the volume on? Absolutely not. This might be my dinner out but I am well aware there are other people in restaurants and they do not want to listen to the cheery sounds of Mario Kart while tucking into their Turkish-Mexican starters. Neither do I, to be frank.
Do I allow my kids to play on their tech throughout the entire meal? No. I do not. Because just like Mr Yilmaz, I too think kids and parents ought to interact more.
I HAVE TO TAKE WHAT I CAN GET
I genuinely wish my two and I did more of it. I try my absolute best but the truth is they're not always that interested in me nor do they care to hear about the quality ingredients in food or the clever ways in which they were cooked.
So I'll take what I can get, which is a beautiful meal in a lovely restaurant with my children who might also be playing on an iPad. Because... they're kids!
The result is that I can get to spend an hour or so without fuss. At least not too much.
And I can get that break I so badly need. I mean really, really need because parenting is tough. So tough. And it's tough in a restaurant too but at least it's a change from my own four walls.
Then there's the other issue of course — the banning of crayons and pencils.
After announcing his ban Mr Yilmaz took to social media saying it was partially driven by the fact one family left a mess by drawing on napkins and the table.
"It's very upsetting to all of us, there was no, 'Oh sorry about that', the parents just laughed and said they're just kids," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"It's an expectation that we are there to clean up that mess, and we are to an extent, but there's also a thing called human decency and respect."
GOOD OLD-FASHION BAD MANNERS
I have to say I agree wholeheartedly.
But the issue here is not pencils — or iPads for that matter — it's old-fashioned bad manners combined with an overwhelming sense of entitlement. Will a ban on tech solve that? No. It won't.
What it will do though is leave families feeling like they are not welcome.
It will leave parents such as myself feeling even more isolated and alone.
And it will means kids will have even less of an opportunity to experience the wonders of dining out.
This article was first published in news.com.au.