Tag Archives: mobile

Going Unplugged During Work Hours

Au Pairs – Imagine for a moment that you went to the hospital and you were in the care of doctors and nurses.  How would you feel if those doctors and nurses who were there to care for you were more interested in texting or using their personal computer than caring for you?  How would that make you feel, about yourself and about them?  Would you think that you were getting the treatment you deserved?  Would you feel like paying the bill after your stay? 

Life as an au pair, it is a fine balance between employee and family member. You live with your host family and participate with them as a member of the family, but you also have clear responsibilities as a childcare provider. Being a childcare provider is truly one of the most important jobs I can think of, because you are helping to shape our next generation.  What message are you sending them when you would rather interact with a computer than with them? How will they feel about themselves and about you? Children feel as though everything is about them. They will see this as a rejection of them and they will be more likely to act out.

It also poses a safety concern when you are not paying enough attention to the children in your care.  Accidents happen, but when an adult care giver is close by and appropriately supervising the chances of a major injury dramatically reduce.

During work hours, the following would not be considered acceptable:
-Talking to friends on the phone
-Chatting with friends online
-Using Skype or FaceTime 
-Updating your status on Facebook
-Using Snapchat, WhatsApp or any other app or social media site
-Watching videos on YouTube
-Tweeting on Twitter
-Uploading photos on Instagram 
-Anything else on the computer unless it is going to Nickjr.com together with your host children

Think about this — even if you work 45 hours a week, that leaves you 123 hours per week for all of that other stuff, or about 70 hours (if you are getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night.)

Host Parents – You need to be clear about what you consider acceptable during work hours to avoid misunderstandings.  Also, please understand that you are dealing with a new generation of people who are very accustomed to being plugged in at all times.  Their intention is not to be rude, they don’t necessarily realize how their actions will be perceived.  Please use this information as an opportunity to begin a dialogue on the issue.

Texting + Driving = Danger & Major Traffic Violation

txtstopperimageTwo important reasons to make your car a phone-free zone:

  1. Safety – There is no text message that is worth risking lives.
  2. It’s the Law – Please read the details below about changes (effective October 1 to the Maryland law to increase enforcement and the penalty (fine & points against your license) for breaking the law.

From Washingtonpost.com:
Sending and reading text messages behind the wheel has been illegal in Maryland for more than a year, but under the existing law, it was a secondary offense. That meant police had to find another reason to pull a driver over in order to issue a texting citation.

The state legislature changed texting to a primary offense this year. Drivers who are using the Global Positioning System function in their mobile devices or who are sending a text message to the emergency 911 system are exempted from prosecution.

Under the new law, those caught texting can be fined $70 and receive one point toward suspension of a driver’s license. But if the action is judged to have caused an accident, the fine increases to $110 and the number of points to three.

Sending and reading text messages while driving is a primary offense in the District and a secondary office in Virginia. It is a primary offense in 30 other states and a secondary offense in Iowa and Nebraska.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 20 percent of crashes that resulted in injury in 2009 involved distracted driving. NHTSA said 995 fatal crashes that year involved cellphone distraction. Sixteen percent of all drivers younger than 20 who were involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted.


In this 90 second video people share stories about how a simple decision to read or send a text message while driving had deadly consequences.

I urge all au pairs and host families to watch this video and discuss. This is one simple decision and commitment that can make us all safer on the roads.