Tag Archives: privacy

In response to ‘Dear Mom on the iPhone’

18 Mar

Today, via Facebook, I came across a retort to a posting of an article entitled “Dear mom on the iPhone: Let me tell you what you don’t see” The retort, entitled “In Defense of the iPhone Mom” really got me going. It got be going so much that I then went over and read the article that incited the retort. And all this began a realtime conversation with a fellow mom, whom I respect very much. Her beef was that people nowadays spend too much time documenting events rather than experiencing them. Think of the last concert you went to. How many people were holding up a digital device and recording the event rather than experiencing it? Probably too many.  And too many people, many of them parents, seem more engrossed with their phones than their children when you see them out in public. And, I agreed, this is a very real issue. A societal issue, in fact. So why did the original article specifically attack “mom”? There inlies my beef.

Here is what a fellow educator and mom had to say:

Hmmm, I do think that I see so many parents greet their kids at school with a phone in their face while dealing with their important messages. Not just mothers but fathers too. Everywhere I go I see people living their lives on i-products (or similar). I went to see Fat Boy Slim last year and no one was dancing, all except me and (my husband) were filming it. Sorry, I don’t actually think that’s ok. People need people. Face to face. I get her point about stop picking on parents and totally agree but really….in defense of the i-phone? Sorry, have just opened a can of worms there.

Open that can of worms my friend! For certain cans need to be opened if we are ever going to get to the bottom of this.

Here is my reply.

What I really connected with was the idea that no blogs ever go viral praising parents, especially mothers, for the countless little things they do day in and day out. And the sad fact that motherhood is a competitive contact sport with metaphorical blow after blow being levied on women for not putting their children first every minute of every living day. These attacks come from family, peers, strangers, the media and government. I recently saw a US study where 60% of respondents (all parents) said, when asked, that they put their children’s needs first and their needs second. Sixty percent also correlates roughly to the divorce rate in the US (and many other countries where this sort of mindset exists).
The iPhone issue is part of a wider societal issue. People are recording events rather than experiencing them -as you rightly point out. The larger issue, for me at least, in that post was that maybe, just maybe, we should stop for a moment when judging strangers. Perhaps giving people the benefit of the doubt once in a while wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
On the birth board that I belong to online, in the fall of last year, a woman posted about how she saw a couple with their maybe 6 month old on the bus. The baby was in a stroller wearing nothing but a diaper. The poster took a pic of the child and posted it online ranting about how these parents were unfit because they had their child out after dark wearing nothing but a diaper in 18 degree Celsius temperatures. I was livid when I read this. Livid at the poster – not this poor kids parents! How freakin’ dare she violate the right to privacy of this family that way. And by the way, all she did was snap a sneaky pic and post it online. She didn’t speak to the family at all! Who knows what was going on there? If she had honestly thought for one moment that this was a case of child neglect or endangerment then shame on her for not enquiring and offering assistance!
I remember a time last summer when my six month old had a massive diaper blowout in the car. We pulled into the rest area to change him only to realise that we’d forgotten to pack a spare change of clothes for him. All we had was a spare t-shirt for our eldest. So, one filthy infant onesie in a Ziplock bag later, there we were in the food court of the rest area with a 6 month old infant wearing nothing but a diaper and t-shirt that was 3 years too big for him. What must we have looked like? Thank the gods that no one whipped out their camera phone and posted that!
So all this to say that I just think that most people are living their lives with the best of intentions and ya know what? Sometimes you end up on a bus with a kid wearing nothing but his diaper because wearing nothing is more appropriate than being covered in your own poop. I just wish that everyone would stop judging. But also, I wish that more people would risk the embarrassment of being wrong and genuinely enquire when they see something that perhaps raises a red flag. All that that mother had to do was say something friendly to the family like, “Forgot to pack a spare change of clothes, eh? Man, I’ve been there, done that.” That would have probably been all she needed to do to ascertain whether this was an act of child cruelty or human fallibility. This woman in question also needs to learn the story about glasses houses, in my opinion, and keep her damn camera phone to herself. But that’s a whole other rant 

Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m wrong. What do you think?