‘Parents on Phones’ Site Is Yet Another Classless Way to Shame Good Parents​

mom on phone

Hey, are you reading this on your phone right now? Then you probably won't like the latest trend in parent-shaming, which is all about calling out moms and dads who appear to be paying more attention to their smartphones than their kids. There's even a Tumblr devoted to the topic called "Parents on Phones," where people can submit anonymous photos of alleged child-ignoring grown-ups so everybody can stare at them and feel superior. But is that really fair?


Because the site doesn't just display photos -- it displays photos with accompanying judgmental captions, like:

Don’t worry about me ... just drive the boat ... it's the 4th quarter!

(A picture of a dad on his phone while his son plays on a playground boat structure)

Don’t worry honey, I’ll watch the kid, while you look at your phone.

(A picture of a mom and dad sitting in Starbucks, with the mom is glancing at her phone on the table) 

For the haters ... here I am ignoring my own perfect son, just like you ignoramuses.

(A picture of a dad looking at his phone as he sits next to his happily playing son in the grass)

Pretty hateful, right? And how does the author of those captions know what's really going on in those photos? Look, I'm not saying we don't all spend way too much time on our phones these days. We absolutely do -- but that's another conversation entirely. The question is, is there really an epidemic of self-absorbed parents who are so busy posting on Instagram they can't be bothered to interact with their kids? I doubt it, and here's why:

First of all, as a mother of three, I absolutely go on my phone when I'm with my kids, but nine times out of 10, whatever I'm doing on that phone is work-related -- and I'm willing to bet that's the case of a lot of the parents being "shamed" on Tumblr, too. Of course in an ideal world, we'd all be able to completely separate "work" time from "kid" time, but how many working moms are afforded that luxury? Work bleeds into home time and vice versa, whether you work outside the home or in, and so much of our work is conducted virtually these days that of course tending to work issues on-the-go would involve the use of a smartphone. And the reality is, most of us need to work to support our kids. If that means I have to check my phone for 30 seconds to reply to a work email while I'm at the park with my kids, well, at least that means I was able to put gas in the tank to drive them there! And even moms who don't "work" have important business to attend to on their phones. Who's to say that mom who appears to be texting while her kid plays in the sandbox isn't replying to an email from that same kid's teacher about volunteering in class the next day? Don't assume she's just zoning out, reading about the Kardashians. (And even if she was, maybe she just needed a quick mental break! Stressed-out moms NEED those sometimes!)

More from The Stir: 11 Judgy Notes Written to Parents by People Who Were 'Just Trying to Help'

Second of all, even if parents do spend a lot of time on their phones when they're with their kids, they're still spending more time with their kids than our parents spent with us. Back in the day, our moms wouldn't have been standing a few feet away texting while we went down the slide -- they would have been in the house, doing laundry or cooking dinner or paying bills and waiting for us to come back in when it got dark!

And while studies show that the quality of time kids spend with their moms is more important than quantity, just because you're mildly distracted some of the time you're with your kid doesn't mean you don't ALSO get plenty of quality time. How about we just all keep doing the best we can and stop worrying about what other parents are doing on their phones? (Hey, come to think of it, who's watching the kids of the parents taking pictures of OTHER parents?!)

Do you think parents spend too much time on their phones?


Image via iStock.com/Christine Glade

Read More >