We’ve all seen it before. A child is waiting to show their parent something that they see or trying to tell them something that has happened. But rather than paying attention to what their kids are saying, the parents are stuck on the phone.
Whether it’s messaging with friends or responding to work-related correspondence, it tells kids that they are less important than whatever’s on the screen.
While the problem seems to be a personal one, it definitely affects more than just the family. So one Texas daycare decided that they needed to do something pretty dramatic to get parents’ attention about the issue and sparked a massive debate on social media.
Mom Juliana Mazurkewicz, of Hockley, Texas, went to her child’s daycare center for her usual pick up. But there on the window was a note with bold, underlined words in capital letters that took her by surprise and the internet by storm.
“You are picking up your child! GET OFF YOUR PHONE!!!!“
This mom was definitely taken aback by the strong message, which chided parents for paying more attention to their phone than their child. “Your child is happy to see you? Are you happy to see your child??”
For the school staff, the most galling thing was watching kid after kid who was trying to connect with their parents about what they had done at school that day, only to find that their parents weren’t fully available.
At such a crucial age, when kids are first getting the hang of being outside the house in a learning environment, it was particularly disappointing to see parents’ implicit lack of interest. “We have seen children trying to hand their parents their work they completed and the parent is on the phone.”
While Mazurkewicz simply posted a picture of the photo to share, people used her page as a vibrant debating space. As she told ABC News, “I was surprised that they would be so bold, but also I liked it. I thought it was on point.”
On the one side, many people, including plenty of parents, agreed that the daycare center had done the right thing by confronting distracted parents about their bad behavior. Others felt that the school had gone too far by posting the note so prominently, shaming parents who might have very legitimate reasons for using their phones.
Mazurkewicz told ABC News that she’s been interested to read the comments, which have been sharply divided. “Half the people are saying it’s not the day care’s business what paying customers do, and the other half are saying that it’s great they are looking after the children’s well-being.”
Memo from daycare to parents: "GET OFF YOUR PHONE":
Parents who agreed with the note generally focused on the fact that whatever else is going on, it can’t be important as the need to connect with the child after a long day spent apart. As one commenter wrote: “it’s tragic that such a sign has to be posted. Kids are only going to be little for such a short time. Emails and text messages can wait, but childhood can’t!”
While the staff referenced “parents” in the note, they did use an example of one child trying to get their mom’s attention, which led some commenters on Facebook to accuse them of contributing to the “mommy-shaming” trend.
One woman said that she agreed with the idea behind the message but that “as a Mom, I have heard quite enough of other people’s opinions on how to raise my kids, what I should and shouldn’t be doing with them and generally every ones opinion on if I’m doing it right or not.”
Still others just felt like the school had gone too far into prescribing behaviors for parents. “I treat my children with respect. What others do with theirs, is their business. A business should not force or try to guilt you into being a good parent.”
While at times it seemed like the two sides, for and against the posting of the note, weren’t really listening to each other, at least a few people pointed that there’s a happy middle ground. Juliana Mazurkewicz pointed out that at least “a few [commenters] have said, ‘I need to work on this,’ which I think is pretty cool.”