Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Is there an app for that?

Everyone...well, most everyone...has the common sense to know that it is foolish and dangerous to use your cell phone while driving. It's illegal in many states to do so nowadays, but folks still do it. It's also amazing how many people try to send text messages while they are behind the wheel.

One thing I've noticed lately is how many parents with young children are using their mobile devices to text or to play games while neglecting to monitor what their children are doing. My daughter and I made a trip to McDonald's today for lunch, and I saw a dad poking away at his iPhone while his kids ran around like banshees, nibbling on their food and playing on the indoor playground equipment ... a choking incident waiting to happen. At the mall play area, children bolt and climb and dodge, while numerous moms sit down on the outer rim, thumbs flying across their cell phone keypads, yet oblivious to what their children are doing ... or what strangers may be talking to their children.

And a year or so ago, I was with my daughter at a park playground, hovering near her like a mother hen because there are some high, unprotected platforms on parts of the equipment from which children could fall and do some serious damage. I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a little boy begin to free-fall head first from one of those unprotected platforms. I didn't catch him, but I managed to dive over in time to deflect him just enough in order to avoid a sure broken neck. Screaming ensued. And mom came running ... sure enough, with cell phone in hand, finishing the last words on her text as she knelt down to see if Snookums was okay. I was appalled. Put your phone down, lady. Finish your text later. Snookums almost snapped his spinal cord. I didn't say it. I sure wanted to.

If it were possible, I'd like to see an application on the iPhone and other mobile devices which would automatically "taze" parents who are paying more attention to their texting or their games than their children. Oh, I'm not looking for an app that would cause them to go into involuntary convulsions. Just give it enough current to shake them out of their e-stupor so that they notice that their children are about to fall to certain doom off of the playground equipment.


Rant over.

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