voiceBoks® - The Voice of Parenthood

The Absentee Parent as a Result of Technology

My husband and I went to the park with our son and pointed to about 9 different moms just around us who were either talking on their phones or playing with it, while they were supposed to be spending a little time out with their kids. Personally, I think he points these things out just to let me know I’m doing it. Reverse psychology?

After about 30 minutes at the park, we heard a mom calling out for her son. “James!” The call started getting louder and louder. Soon others started walking around the park to look for him. When 20 minutes passed, this mom started pacing, moving around faster, desperate to find him. Then … we heard someone call, “found him!”

James had climbed a tree and was afraid to call out for help, because he had done something he wasn’t supposed to. My husband, being so tall and really the only man around, had him climb on his shoulders so he can get down. His mom cried and hugged him, while everyone looked around and was probably thinking the same thing I was, “whew!” I sure did not want to be a witness to a lost child! MY heart would break even if he wasn’t mine.

Prior to figuring out he had been gone, this mom was sitting on a bench, texting or moving her fingers rapidly on her phone. I remember watching her and thinking, I wonder who belongs to this woman? She must be a friend of another mom.

I have to admit I’m pretty guilty when it comes to using my phone and looking out for emails while I’m out with my son. It’s not just a habit but when you’ve got a business, it’s a must that you start responding to your clients. Technology doesn’t allow for very many excuses. Still, as a mom, our most IMPORTANT job is to make sure our children are safe. I know when I’m out with my 3 year old, just 10 seconds out of my site is too long. I could never even imagine losing my child. I just feel no text message or email is ever worth it.

Are you guilty of ever being an absentee parent while out with your kid(s)?

Lexie Lane

Lexie Lane is the creator of voiceBoks.com, owner of Social Media Panel, and co-author of the book, The Blogger's Survival Guide Tips and Tricks for Parent Bloggers Wordsmiths and Enthusiasts.

15 comments

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  • I can see both sides of this. I spend a lot of quality time with my kids so when we go to the park, it’s so I can get a break. I usually have my 5 yr old and daycare boy and they play together so I don’t have to do anything… and I usually spend the time on my phone. I feel like I do pay attention to what they are doing/where they are at. But I also do think that this is my free time to let them run around w/out me and I spend time checking emails, etc.

  • I’m not a mom but I was at McDonalds recently and a woman actually left her kid in the bathroom and didn’t notice until she got to the front of the line to place her order and panicked the entire restaurant yelling someone must have taken her child. But a lady in the bathroom found the child and was waiting in front of both restrooms waiting for her to come back!

  • I am so guilty of this! y son is 5 and is an independent player and we do activities at home, so sometimes a park visit is a way for him to explore and rid energy while I soak up the outdoors and will take my phone out, but I have to admit I am a paranoid parent so I am even paranoid looking down a few moments

  • oh wow, I am guilty but recently I have stopped because I have seen other moms doing this and not paying attention to their children and it made me take a look at myself and realized hey they are not paying attention and spend time with your kid!

  • What a wake up call!
    Theres a huge difference if you’re using your phone to snap photos at the park but it’s entirely different when you’re ignoring your kid and surfing the web.
    When science fiction writers talk about zombies…this is what they are referring to.
    So very sad.

  • I don’t take out my phone when I am out with my daughter unless I am taking a picture of her. I am too afraid that I would lose my attention so I just don’t take it out. I also set a timer on my phone when I am home so I am not sitting on the computer or phone for too long.

  • Sadly this speaks to me. When I’m playing with my children I learn new things about them and how to look after them, and it might even make a post on my blog. I want to type down a few notes so I can make an article later, but ironically that’s at the expense of looking after my girls…

    How stupid (and hypocritical) is that? 🙁

  • Yes, definitely guilty of this, especially since the introduction of the Smart phone. But I only do it now that my children are older. When they were little I had to follow them around the park or soft play and I wondered if I would ever be the parent who gets to sit and read a newspaper whilst their children are letting off some steam.



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