The latest trend in bad parenting?
Parents on phones. It happens. It's life. And now it's a Tumblr dedicated to slyly documenting "the culture of mobile phones and parental neglect." On it, there are pictures of mothers and fathers checking their smartphones while their kids look on longingly, waiting to be pushed on a swing or playing nearby at a children's museum. The anonymous purveyor of sneaky snapshots asks readers: "Have you ever checked your email or surfed the web when you should be playing with your children?" Well then, here's a blog ready to shame you! Send in photos! To this I say: Really? Really?
I suspect that you will soon see my picture posted for the world to see. I'll be seated next to my empty pram checking my e-mail or sending a text as one or two of my kids are off climbing a slide or parkour-ing the playground.
I'm not ashamed. I feel pretty confident that checking to see if a friend would like to meet me is not neglect. Neither is checking a work e-mail I've been expecting. I don't need to be 100-percent engaged at all times to be a good parent. In fact, I think not being 100-percent engaged at all times make me a better parent.
I don't want to be a dreaded helicopter mum, hovering over my kids' every move. Yes, I've checked Instagram while my kids are playing 10 feet in front of me. Besides, in this judge-all-mums-always time, I'm going to get the stinkeye no matter what. But I like to think about what David Plotz points out in a recent article on Slate: "The smartphone is... one of the greatest gifts ever made to working parents. I'm on my iPhone for a couple minutes at the soccer game so that I can be at the soccer game. I'm sending an email during dinner so that I can be home for dinner, not yoked to my desk. If the price to pay is a bit of distraction and mobile indulgence, it seems a small loss."
So, you no-name poster of photos, wagging your finger at parents, I wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of starting a Tumblr myself: Parents Who Take Pictures of Other Parents on Phones. Or maybe I'll just stick to viewing Tumblrs of Ryan Gosling.
Do you check your phone when you are with your kids?