Parents who give up their phones during dinner will be rewarded with free meals for their kids at one U.K.-based restaurant chain. For the first week of December, Frankie & Benny’s is running its “no-phone zone” campaign in an attempt to improve family interactions at the dinner table.
The promotion was announced following a study that the Italian restaurant chain ran earlier this year, where they studied the dinner table behavior of over 1,500 people. And the results were staggering—almost a quarter of the parents admitted to not only using their phones during mealtime but that they did so while their kids were talking about their day.
“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,” a Frankie and Benny’s spokesperson explained.
Parenting expert Susan Atkins agrees, saying, “By putting away screens parents are sending the message that their children are important to them… 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.”
To take advantage of the current campaign, which started on November 27 and will run through December 7, parents must put their phones in a special box before the meal begins. After dinner, the phones will be returned to them, and their children’s meals will be free of charge. And while it’s completely voluntary, the restaurant is “actively encouraging customers and families to take part in the initiative.”
Our staff are actively encouraging customers and families to take part in the initiative but of course, we can't force them to hand over their phones.
— Frankie & Benny's (@frankienbennys) November 28, 2018