Mum attracts criticism for confiscating kids' phones on playdates

Photo: Glennon Doyle / Instagram
Photo: Glennon Doyle / Instagram 

As parents, there's a time for leniency and a time for strict rules, no matter what the age of our children. 

US blogger, author, activist and founder of charity Together Rising Glennon Doyle has gone public about her very strict playdate rule, which she sticks to without apology. 

Posting a photo to Instagram of 11 phones in a basket, she writes, "I love my kids' friends so much that I want them to talk to each other at our house. So Abby and I have them check their phones at the door. Which we can do cause we're the bosses of this house."

Now, aside from the fact that Glennon must be some kind of super woman to have 10 kids over at a time, you'd imagine this would be a recipe for total social exclusion for her daughter. But apparently that's not the case.

She continues, "They all act exasperated but seem interestingly relieved." 

It's then that the magic happens, simply because there's finally the opportunity for it to happen.

"Then, after a minute, they look at each other. And talk. And dance and laugh and stuff. And they remember that they are with their friends so there is no need to be anywhere else," explains Glennon.

In a world where kids are always on one device or another, be it for school or recreation, there's good cause for concern about the social interaction they're missing out on.

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​But is it too extreme? While the blogger has received plenty of support from her followers, her iron-fisted tactic has also attracted a fair amount of criticism.

"As someone with extreme anxiety, just having my phone gives me a lot of comfort. If someone tried to take it, I'd turn around and leave. This definitely feels performative too, like you want to impress other parents instead of thinking of the kids you're forcing this rule on," wrote one commenter.

"This is so problematic in so many ways. I can think of a couple times I needed discreet rescue at a friend's house bc their parents or a situation made me feel scared or uncomfortable. I want my child to have unfettered access to a phone I provide them wherever they are going..." wrote another.

"I work every day with adults who are healing from being treated this way as young people. You are perpetuating pain and the oppression of young people."

With more than 2,300 comments and 64,000 likes on the post already, plenty of people see the value in Glennon's approach.

"I couldn't have said it better myself. We didn't have cell phones growing up & we turned out just fine. She's not locking the phones up. If they NEED it they can use it. Otherwise, be in the moment, not on a phone..."

"Yes, I feel like I should enforce it with adults too!"

"I bet no kid wants to be the one to suggest they put their phones away so they're probably quite appreciative when an adult enforces this!"