Frankie & Bennys becomes first UK restaurant to ban mobiles

A nationwide study, conducted by the Frankie and Benny’s, has found as many as 72% of children wish their parents would spend less time on their phones and more time talking to them.

In a bid to get the nation to embrace and celebrate family time, customers heading to Frankie & Benny's in December will be asked to hand their devices over at family meal times, making it the first restaurant brand to ban mobiles at the table.

Heartbreakingly, almost one in ten (8%) of British children have tried to hide their parent’s handset in a desperate bid to get their attention, and 56% said they would really like to have more conversations with their parents.

Seven in ten insist their parents enjoy more 'screen time' than they do, and more than one in ten (15%) said their parent’s phone 'addiction' made them feel like their mum and dad actually prefer going on their phone to talking to them.

According to the study the main time mobiles get in the way is during dinner times, when 46 percent of kids would like to take the device away, followed by family movie or TV time (29%) and holidays (24%).

The research of 1,500 children and their parents, over half of kids (56%) also said they didn’t think their parents really listened to them.

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.'

A spokesperson for Frankie and Benny’s, added, “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 concerns are also shared by guilty parents. With 77% of the parents polled feeling guilty about the amount of time they spend on the phone – and two thirds (67%) admitting their phone has come between them and their family.

Seven out of ten parents say that they do feel that they may be addicted to their phone with a hardcore 17% saying they’d find it tough to live without it.

Forty-seven percent say that they check their phone from force of habit, 35% say that they do this with their kids, and 35% also say that they check their phone mid conversation with their other half.

Over a quarter (26%) check their phones during family mealtimes while 23% check while their child is talking about their day and seven percent even admit to looking at their screen whilst driving their children around.

And while 77% of parents restrict their children's phone time, they say they’re unable to do anything about their own habit, with 67% of them saying that it stops them having quality time with their whole family.

Norwich was the most addicted city, where on average residents spend 130 minutes a day checking their phone, compared to people in Brighton who only spend 95 minutes on their phones a day.

Children in Oxford were the most militant about their parent’s phone use, where 93% would confiscate the implement, compared to the more relaxed infants in Liverpool, where only 58 percent would grapple the phone off their mum or dad.