Dr Mumbo

McParenting: The McDonald’s guide to looking after your kids

Monday often seems to bring about a strange new story for some unknown reason and today is no exception. The narrative in question being global fast-food chain outlet – McDonald’s – trying to teach parents a thing or two about, well, parenting.

According to the press release sent to Dr Mumbo, the omnipresent burger chain is introducing lockers for parents to store away their phones while spending time with their beloved children. Yep, you read that right: and it’s not even April Fool’s Day.

The pilot scheme is first being tried out at Singapore’s East Coast Park branch. And while you may think this just a publicity stunt, McDonald’s director of communications and customer care Linda Ming is not having any of it.

“We will be actively gathering feedback from our customers to assess how best we can expand these initiatives to more of our restaurants,” she told Dr M.

In fact, McDonald’s says the scheme came together following research by its PR agency Golin suggesting 69 per cent of Singaporean parents – and 72 per cent of kids – use their smartphones during mealtime.

Although Dr Mumbo is ordinarily sceptical about these kind of surveys – especially when sample size is a grand total of 304 people – it is nevertheless heartwarming to know (if it is indeed to be believed) that there are least 30 per cent of parents out there who do actually talk to their children during meal times. Fancy that.

One thing is for sure. Dr M is going to sleep better tonight knowing that McDonald’s is making the world a better place once again. For this is not the first such initiative. Following a similar launch in China, the restaurant is now even bringing in table service to Singapore so parents can enjoy even more time at the table with their kids.

Cue the awkward silences and thousand-yard stares around the McDonald’s dining tables, as parents and children are faced with the unusual prospect of real-world social interaction.

Dr Mumbo is curious as to what Golin and McDonald’s will come up with next. Perhaps a crash-course on the benefits of a healthy diet for children would be in order. McParenting anyone?

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