‘Mummy looking at mobile’ syndrome

‘Greet your child with a smile not a mobile’ is a message that a school in Longlands, Middlesbrough, has placed on its’ gates. The head of St Joseph’s RC Primary School, Elizabeth King, has stated that the message is a “simple way” to develop speaking and listening between youngsters and their parents. 

I would say that it requires a lot more than a ‘simple way’ to get parents off their mobiles to pay attention to their children. While I hate being judgmental one cannot deny that there is a noticeable tendency for parents outside the school gates, in cafes and restaurants, on buses and tubes and even while strolling to be engaged on their phones for a length of time. 

Checking messages and replying is one thing but to be protracted about it is another. 

My daughter is now 17 and I didn’t have a mobile till she was about 7 years old. As a result, I don’t know whether I would have been a victim of the ‘mummy looking at mobile’ (i have made this phrase up) syndrome. I don’t want to be ‘holier than thou’ in anyway but there is something galling about seeing children wanting their parents attention and not getting it especially if it’s being done in a social setting like in a cafe or restaurant. 

Singling parental actions out as misdemeanors is always a tricky one because, understandably, we don’t live in a nanny state and parents, especially mothers, do need some time to attend to their own needs in a tech fueled world.  

My point of reference is the fact that children grow up so quickly. 

Your little one soon becomes a teenager (and won’t want to know you) and then the world of university or work beckons. Perhaps it is my angst over my daughter growing up that makes me angry about other parents wasting precious time over things that do not need immediate attention. I may also be judging parental actions based on a snapshot of their lives. 

Whatever the reason I do think that a starting position of realising that you will not have your child’s attention forever is a point to always bear in mind. Make the most of your time together.



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