The hot topic on the Internet this week has been “kid-free” zones in certain places — essentially banning children from certain events and arenas.

The buzz really got going when a Whole Foods Market in Missouri announced a new event: two hours of free babysitting while you go shopping, every Friday in August. Parents can drop off their kids — the young ones can enjoy crafts and books; Mom and Dad can shop without the grabby hands or whining.

People misunderstood this as banning kids from Whole Foods. Understandable, because local venues are hopping on this trend: a quiet, casual restaurant in Pennsylvania announced this summer that children under 6 are no longer allowed.

A restaurant in North Carolina has made it quite clear with a sign on its doors: “Screaming Children Will NOT Be Tolerated!” Malaysia Airlines recently announced that children are banned from first class.

In Austin, my hometown, Alamo Drafthouse has a strict no kids allowed in all their movies, offering instead kid-friendly hours and movies during certain times and days.

There are times and places where children shouldn’t be, for their sake as much as the other people involved. But as a culture, are we becoming less and less tolerant of kids?

Photo from flickriver

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. When you hear a local restaurant is banning kids, do you feel “persecuted,” or do you do understand their perspective? Companies have a right to do what they want — but do you feel like it’s a good move on their part?

Does this say anything about how our culture views — and deals with — children? As a parent, how do you feel when you see someone else’s child making loud noise in a store, an airplane, or some other public place?

(And perhaps most importantly, how awesome would it be if there were more restaurants and stores that provided childcare? This is just one of the many reasons we love Ikea so much.)