WATCH ABOVE: As technology changes, so too does the family dining out experience. Restaurants are offering kids electronics to pass the time until their meal comes but a researcher on media and child health worries the technology is replacing family connections. Laurel Gregory reports.
Some restaurants are retiring crayons and colouring books in favour of iPads and tablets as children’s mealtime entertainment. It’s a welcome relief for parents who want adult conversation but a distraction from family time for others.
Christian Cardona is a regional manager for Redwater Rustic Grille, a Calgary restaurant that has offered iPads to customers for several years.
He says about 50 per cent of families take up the offer.
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“It really depends on the parents’ discretion,” Cardona said. “It kind of depends on what kind of dining experience they want to have as well. Some families want to come in and they want to dine as a family… Sometimes the parents want to have a meal and have the kids occupied. That’s where the iPads come in.”
The new trend in dining experience across North America concerns Dr. Michael Rich, a pediatrician and founder of the Boston-based Center on Media and Child Health.
He worries children are missing out on a time traditionally reserved to unplug and converse.
WATCH BELOW: Dr. Michael Rich is a researcher and media enthusiast. He describes what children miss out on when they use screens during mealtime.