Should A Restaurant Push Parents To Communicate With Their Children During Dinner? A Food Chain Has Sparked A Debate

Frankie & Benny's launched a movement to put distance between parents and their cell phones for the betterment of their children, where is freedom in this? 

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source: Wikipedia

Some are applauding, and others are asking what happened to free will after a well-known restaurant decided to launch an initiative to push parents to put down their cell phones down when they are having dinner with their children.

Frankie & Benny's, an English-based restaurant chain, has created what they call "no-phone zones" where phones are banned.

Customers, who decide to put away their devices, are greatly rewarded with free meals for their children.

The restaurant chain came out with the idea after a recent study showed that teens and young children are frustrated by the amount of time their parents spend glued and scrolling through their devices.

Frankie & Benny's which serves New York-style Italian said the study which focused on 1,500 people showed that 72 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 16 want their parents to put their phones away so they can better communicate.

A rep for Frankie & Benny's made it clear that the phone ban is not mandatory and clients who choose to participate give their staff members their phones that are placed in a special box during the meal.

They issued a statement that read: "Children spell love T-I-M-E, and by putting away screens parents are sending the message that their children are important to them and that can only be good for family time," parenting expert Susan Atkins said a press release from the restaurant. "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."

Eleven Madison Park has also been asking families to put their phones inside boxes.

The eatery explained: "Just outside our windows we've seen so many inspiring artists partner with Madison Square Park for local installations over the years, and the current installation, by the amazing local NYC artist Arlene Shechet, is no exception. It's titled Full Steam Ahead and invites people to look up and appreciate the present moment, away from their phones and other distractions. Inspired by her exhibit, we've brought a touch of this into our restaurant, with guests presented with a box which they can place their phones into, encouraging them to enjoy the company of those at the table, and be just a bit more present with one another. It's been so amazing to see how guests have embraced this in the dining room. #elevenmadisonpark #makeitnice."

Some say Frankie and Benny's is providing a better dining experience; others say they will lose their clients for spitting on technology.

What say you?