There are already dangers at the playground that you may not be aware of. Fall zones aren’t deep enough or wide enough, many playground equipment isn’t actually kid friendly at all, moving parts on some equipment are pinching hazards, and many more.
And there are already dangers that surround texting, not least of which is distraction, as the infamous woman who fell in a mall fountain found out back in January 2011.
Put the two together and you have a new way young kids are in danger. It’s called The Texting Mommy.
Texting is a distraction. Period.
We all know that texting is a distraction. It is such a diversion that as many as 6,000 people died in crashes related to distracted driving by use of a cell phone in 2008.
So why is it acceptable for Mom to sit down and text at the playground while their young child is playing?
A number of things can happen when you aren’t looking.
A playground isn’t an outdoor babysitter. With that in mind, a lot of parents tell their child, “Go play,” and then they sit and do their own thing, expecting their young child to remain safe. You may think that the small amount of time it takes to text and look up from your phone isn’t enough time for your child to get hurt. But think about this: if it’s enough to cause accidents which kill thousands of people a year, it’s enough.
Case in point, in my most recent visit to the playground with my two boys, there was a mom who sat on a swing stared at her phone the entire time her two children, a boy of about 4 and a girl of about 5, played. I was close to where my children were playing with hers. Her children were even coming up to me and allowing me to tie their shoes and zip their jackets. She didn’t notice.
I realized pretty quickly that I had also taken on the task of watching her children as well as my own. I had to remind them not to climb the slides when bigger kids were sliding down. I had to direct them away from an already spinning merry-go-round. I bet that I could have even put them in my car and driven away and she wouldn’t have known.
But what’s there to do if you can’t even text?
Play! There’s nothing that says that Mommy can’t be silly and runaround, too. I may look like an idiot out there on the playground but I’m having fun with my children and I’m getting exercise.
And if you’re just not in to looking silly, try talking to the other moms. If my kids start playing with others their age, I stand back and watch from a distance. I sure could use some grown-up conversation.
Other Parenting content by this contributor:
Tips for easing your baby back to sleep
Transitioning from two naps to one
Two things you should never say to your children