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Restaurant bans mobile phones so families actually talk to each other

  • Frankie and Benny’s has become the first restaurant in the UK to ban mobile phones to encourage families to talk to each other at meal times.

Under the ban, mums and dads will be encouraged to put their phones in a designated box before they sit down to eat. The move came after a survey found 15 per cent of children said they thought their parents preferred their phones to them.

It also found 72 per cent of the 1,500 children quizzed said they wished their parents spent less time on their phones and more time chatting to them. The ban, which came into place today, sees all Frankie and Benny’s restaurants creating ‘No Phone Zones’ during dinner times.

A spokesman said that kids will eat free if families abide by the rules and keep their phones out of reach.

‘We looked at various ways we could encourage people to engage more at the dinner table, and we’ve found giving families the chance to part with their devices for a mere couple of hours is a great way to bring them closer and embrace family time,’ the spokesman said.

The nationwide survey, set up by Frankie and Benny’s, found that more than half of children think their parents ‘don’t really listen to them’ because they are always on their phones.

A quarter of parents admitted they regularly checked their phones during meals with their kids.

Parenting expert Susan Atkins said: ‘I am delighted to see Frankie & Benny’s are leading the way by banning screens at the table. ‘We live in a busy, fast paced 24/7 digitally connected world, unless we consciously plan not to be, so I love the idea of families sitting together, eating and chatting together away from screens.

‘Parents are role models in everything that they do and in everything that they say, so by managing their own screen time parents are teaching their kids by example about when and where technology use is appropriate.’