Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/04/16/table_manners/
UK kids' table manners a national disgrace
Shock decline in standards threatens society
It's official: the UK's children are ill-mannered and ill-disciplined brats with a shocking disregard for proper table manners, The Telegraph reports.
According to a Pizza Express poll published today, which asked 1,140 people how kids should conduct themselves, "the notion of good table manners has changed".
Although 80 per cent of those probed "thought manners were getting worse", just three per cent thought it was "necessary to put down cutlery while chewing", while a mere two per cent reckoned that the Victorian concept of masticating each mouthful 32 times before swallowing was a bedrock of civilised society.
It gets worse. A paltry eight per cent thought children should eat everything set before them, while 32 per cent didn't believe politeness towards waiters was an essential social skill. One shaken Pizza Express restaurant manager said: "It's running around, screaming, breaking glasses and when they are at the table they just make a mess. It could be children aged six or seven. Their parents do not care."
There is some hope, however. The poll classified not speaking with food in the mouth as "relevant", and 85 per cent of pollees said "switching off an iPod or games console while dining would apply to today's children". ®
A quick poll of Reg staff showed that 93 per cent of hacks thought the practice of sending eight-year-olds up chimneys was a character-building and rewarding activity, 77 per cent believed a short spell in the Army would sort kids out, and 81 per cent favoured the birch as a punishment for abusing waiters with your mouth full while playing a PS3.