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Mon Jan 14, 2013, 01:31 PM

Parents on their smartphones while their kids run around the park

Does this piss anyone else off as much as it pisses me off? Now that I'm a father of a VERY active almost-3 yr old little girl, I take her to the park and library all the time. She loves to run and play, and I love chasing after her, talking to her, reading to her, etc. Maybe I'm a bit overprotective, but I never take my eyes off her for more than a few seconds when we're not in a very familiar place (at home, a friend's place, the enclosed play area at the library, etc).

But what I've now noticed is that I am apparently the exception to the rule. The majority of parents seem to set their children to run free, while they play on their phones. I understand that everyone needs a few minutes to relax now and then, ESPECIALLY when you have to devote so much time to your kids, but I'm not talking about quickly checking a text or an email. I've seen a mom who fixated on her screen for 10-15 min straight, only to freak the fuck out when she lifted her head and her kids are nowhere to be found (we found them in the woods next to the park, playing Fort behind some logs).

Am I alone in my frustration, or are there other parents out there that have seen the same thing as I have? Before the advent of smartphones, was there any similar analogy? Did parents back in the 80's and 90's do the same using books instead of phones?

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Reply Parents on their smartphones while their kids run around the park (Original post)
NickB79 Jan 2013 OP
Arugula Latte Jan 2013 #1
gollygee Jan 2013 #2
Sekhmets Daughter Jan 2013 #3
Iggo Jan 2013 #4
Glitterati Jan 2013 #5
nadinbrzezinski Jan 2013 #6
Odin2005 Jan 2013 #7
abelenkpe Jan 2013 #8
Dyedinthewoolliberal Jan 2013 #9
cali Jan 2013 #13
Dyedinthewoolliberal Jan 2013 #21
juajen Jan 2013 #14
maggiesfarmer Jan 2013 #23
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #27
Robb Jan 2013 #10
FSogol Jan 2013 #11
Arugula Latte Jan 2013 #19
Renew Deal Jan 2013 #20
Nay Jan 2013 #12
juajen Jan 2013 #16
Jennicut Jan 2013 #15
Xithras Jan 2013 #17
maggiesfarmer Jan 2013 #22
Blue_Tires Jan 2013 #24
Warren DeMontague Jan 2013 #18
laundry_queen Jan 2013 #25
sad-cafe Jan 2013 #26
Iris Jan 2013 #28

Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 01:34 PM

1. I was like you. When my kids were little, I kept my eyes on them at all times in public.

I remember that instant sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I lost track of them even for a couple seconds.

I am not a super overprotective parent, but too many things can happen to toddlers and young children in a park, swimming pool, amusement park, etc. etc. if they're not supervised -- not just stranger abduction (which is exceedingly rare), but injuries and so on.

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Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 01:36 PM

2. For that age I keep close tabs on them

But if it's an older child, I think it's fine to sit back and read, or chat with a friend, or whatever.

I don't agree that all kids of all ages need their parents to watch their kids constantly when they play, but I'm not sure if you are specifically talking about young kids and toddlers, as with your daughter, or children of all ages.

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Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 01:39 PM

3. Yep...

there is nothing new about stupidity or carelessness.

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Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 01:39 PM

4. Kids running around the park?!?!?!?!?!

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Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 01:48 PM

5. Before smartphones, it was books, conversation or gossip

Smartphones are just the current excuse not to parent.

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Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 01:51 PM

6. Yup

And other pursuis.

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Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 01:53 PM

7. OFFS, it's a park, OF CORSE there are kids running around.

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Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 02:04 PM

8. My mom would take us to the pool

and sit under an umbrella working on sculptures, drawing or reading. We could have drowned and she would not have noticed.
I take my kids to the park and use my smartphone to take photos of them. For the most part I keep my phone in my bag and spend my time chasing them or playing with them. So no, I don't think it's anything new. And yes, it's pretty dangerous if the parent is completely unattentive.

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Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 02:35 PM

9. Hmmmmmmmm

I guess times have really changed. My parents use to let me wander around all day! With no supervision. I don't thnk the world is more dangerous now than it was then, (mid 50's on) or is it?

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Response to Dyedinthewoolliberal (Reply #9)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 05:20 PM

13. when you were 3?

that's idiotic and I don't care when you grew up.

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Response to cali (Reply #13)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 07:17 PM

21. I missed that fact,

but thanks for the kind words...........

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Response to Dyedinthewoolliberal (Reply #9)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 05:28 PM

14. It was so different then.

I remember not even hearing of abductions or murders. Of course, we did not have a TV on constantly. We got our first black and white around 1946, or somewhere in that range. I was 5 to 8 years old. We only watched Mickey Mouse Club and Howdy Doody, parents watched Ed Sullivan, and Dinah Shore. The 50's were a very different mindset than today. Honestly, we were innocent. Mom did let me play outside, sometimes even when it was dark, but I had five older siblings and they carefully guarded us, or at least, it seemed that they did. We were never afraid, and neither was my Mom.

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Response to juajen (Reply #14)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 07:27 PM

23. yes, it was different. the violent crime rate was a LOT higher (see post below for link)

but you're 100% right -- there was a lot less media.

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Response to maggiesfarmer (Reply #23)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:30 AM

27. +1

 

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Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 02:47 PM

10. I see that too, but I assume best intentions.

I figure they're answering work emails or something, squeezing in some extra time with the kiddos they might've otherwise spent at the office.

I know they're probably watching foxes jumping on trampolines on YouTube or something, but I like my version of events better.

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Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 02:52 PM

11. I was a free-range child and raised both of my sons as free-range kids.

Maybe if you live in a place where kids cannot run free without total parental supervision, maybe you should think of moving.

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Response to FSogol (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 06:50 PM

19. He was talking about a three-year-old.

You let your boys roam free as toddlers?

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Response to FSogol (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 07:02 PM

20. Aren't you worried about the vultures?

Seriously though, I'm not sure there is a place that you can move that you don't have to worry about kids.

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Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 05:14 PM

12. I'm a grandma, and I NEVER take my eyeballs off my little guy. I play with him a lot, too, but

he also runs around with any little friends he finds. Grandma's eye is always on the prize. If the play area is busy, it would be insanely easy for someone to make off with a small child. It ain't gonna happen to this grandma. I'd never forgive myself. Frankly, I don't even leave him alone with Grandpa at the park, because Grandpa thinks it is too paranoid to worry about such things. OK, whatever. Let me repeat: it ain't happenin' under grandma's watch.
Edit to add: he's 5. When I was a kid, we ran around all day by ourselves, but we were 8 or 9 before we were allowed to do that.

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Response to Nay (Reply #12)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 05:31 PM

16. I'm with you, and I am a Grandma also. Not on my watch, either.

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Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 05:29 PM

15. I still keep a close eye on mine.

And they are 7 and 8 now. Some parents are idiots. One time when we were camping we met a family with girls near the age of mine. They practically left us with their daughters at our campsite for hours. We were strangers! They did not pay any attention to them at all. I have seen parents like this a few times. I think you have to get a balance between being a helicopter parent and paying attention. But your daughter is only 3. You are doing it right.

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Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 05:36 PM

17. Lol, my parents dropped me at the park and left.

Parents who insisted on watching their kids every second were regarded as overbearing and paranoid. As young as six, I'd head out of my house on weekends shortly after morning cartoons ended, and frequently wouldn't be home until dinner time. And that was NORMAL. It was a different era.

I pretty much let my own kids run free too. I'd take them to the park, and I'd play with them if that's what they wanted, but more often than not they'd just take off with a bunch of other kids. I'd kick back under a tree with my laptop or a book to keep myself occupied while they had fun.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #17)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 07:24 PM

22. a different era, with a higher crime rate


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Response to Xithras (Reply #17)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 07:29 PM

24. ^^^^^^^THIS

Or I'd ride my bike to it...

When mom was with me, she sat on a bench and read, knitted, or gossiped with a friend....

But like you said, different time/era (mid-late 80s in my case)

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Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 05:40 PM

18. It depends a lot on the age of the kid.

At, say, 2, yeah- you better be keeping a close eye on them.

When they get to be, say, 8, you can let them be a bit more self-directed.

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Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:00 AM

25. It depends where I am

FWIW - moms have been doing this for quite some time - only before the smart phone, it was the neighborhood moms gathering and chatting while the kids played.

There's a mall playground in a closeby (15 min) major city and if I have some shopping to do and we stop by the playground, I don't take my eyes off my 5 and 9 yo for one second.

Our neighborhood playgrounds though...hell ya. Usually there are very few people there. I play on my phone and look up every now and again. If a friend joins me, we chat while the kids play. If your daughter is your first child...then that is why you are like that. I was like that with my first too (she's now 15). I have 4 total. It really is true that you relax with each kid.

Keep in mind, however, that I'm in Canada in a small town. Our crime rate consists of slashed tires and graffiti. If there's a B&E, it's news. So YMMV.

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Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:27 AM

26. it is scary the things that can happen in just a few seconds

 

when people are absorbed with their phones.

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Response to NickB79 (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 02:37 AM

28. I don't have kids but know what a mind-suck my smart-phone is.

I wouldn't do it, even though I'd be tempted.

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