Son drowns while Mother Facebooks

Such a sad story – 13 month old son dies while mother is playing Cafe World on the online community Facebook.

GREELEY, Colo. – A northern Colorado woman who was playing a game on Facebook while her 13-month-old baby drowned in a bathtub was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison.

Shannon Johnson, 34, of Fort Lupton, cried as District Judge Thomas Quammen told her he didn’t think she was a bad person or that she killed her son on purpose, the Greeley Tribune reported. But, he added, that doesn’t mean her action wasn’t criminal.

“You left this little boy in a bathtub so you could entertain yourself on the computer by playing games,” Quammen said. “And you left that 13-month-old human being, little Joseph, incredibly for those reasons.”

Johnson pleaded guilty in March to negligently causing the death of her child. The charge carried a sentencing range of four to 12 years, but it also left open the possibility of alternative sentencing, which means she might have avoided spending time behind bars. Authorities rejected that option, saying they didn’t want to play down the seriousness of her crime.

According to court documents, Johnson put her son in the tub for his bath a little after 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 20. She then left him unsupervised as she went to another room to share videos, check status updates and play Cafe World on Facebook. (Yahoo NewsOpens in a new tab.)

My only question – every child that has drowned is because a parent was distracted at the time. Full stop. If you are sitting there, holding the child, it won’t drown. So how many kids have drowned because mum was watching something on the telly, heard the doorbell ring, went to empty the washing machine or got engrossed in magazine or phone conversation? Do we blame Facebook – surely just a tool? Without Facebook, would it have happened anyway?

Bring back the Village with kids sharing bath time and mothers sharing chores, that’s my thoughts on the matter. We expect too much from tired women doing too much. You?

hat tip: AllFacebook.comOpens in a new tab.

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

16 thoughts on “Son drowns while Mother Facebooks

  1. Son drowns while Mother Facebooks: Such a sad story – 13 month old son dies while mother is playing Cafe World o… http://bit.ly/grnQTJ

  2. Son drowns while Mother Facebooks: Such a sad story – 13 month old son dies while mother is playing Cafe World o… http://bit.ly/h6XOKX

  3. Son drowns while Mother Facebooks: Such a sad story – 13 month old son dies while mother is playing Cafe World o… http://bit.ly/hCuzeO

  4. Where is the other parent in this situation? While I don’t blame Facebook, my husband and I see far too much of this. People decide to have a couple of kids but don’t think about how much attention the kids need. So in restaurants, internet cafes, playgrounds, hotels etc. you see parents chatting to each other or playing games, watching TV, whatever and the kids are running around wild (usually right in front of our table, room, workspace, etc.) I’m sure it sounds harsh, but I’m always infuriated by it. And I don’t know what the solution is but a woman playing games while her child plays near a dangerous situation is completely unacceptable. Whether she is tired or not.

  5. Laurel, not ALL children drown because a parent was distracted at the time. Some are swept away in ocean rips and there are many other examples where a finger cannot be pointed at a parent. This woman was irresponsible. I don’t think you should paint all parents with a drowning tragedy in their lives with the same brush.

  6. This is such a sad story. I have a 3 year old and I still worry about him in the bath. I think this is just a very sad story but the fact she was on Facebook will stay with her for the rest of her life.

    I think kids of any age should be closely watched in the bath as it only takes a few cms of water for this to happen.

  7. Whoa, I just couldn’t believe that there are irresponsible parents like her. How can she just let her little angel drown in the bathtub just for her Cafe World account? Is she crazy or what? I’m quite affected by this because I have my own baby, too. There are times that I’d get afraid to touch him because I might hurt him. I hope other parents would learn from this incident. There’s no reason to blame Facebook but every parent should learn how to be responsible now.

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