SUDBURY -- A Sudbury judge handling the case involving a mother being on Facebook for 11 minutes in her bedroom when her son drowned in the bathtub, called her actions "mindless."
In rendering his decision at the sentencing hearing on Wednesday at the Sudbury Courthouse, Justice John Keast said:
"We live in a social media-obsessed world. This has led to widespread public and private commentary as to the merits of social media, and in particular, its deficits. One deficit is the concept of distraction. We hear much about distracted driving, a term that has only come into use in the last several years, then we have distracted workplaces.
This is a case of distracted parenting. There was no urgency or necessity to the Facebook chat. Given the fact a young child is left unsupervised in a bathtub, this 11-minute conversation can only be described as mindless.
When the police pointed out to the mother the Facebook conversation was 11-minutes long, she seemed surprised. She stated she had no idea it was that long.
This is the danger of social media. It can be alluring, powerfully, and mysteriously attractive and seductive. A person can lost in communication. There was a clock on the screen of the mother’s phone. Each message had a time indicator. In the face of that, she had no idea how much time had elapsed.
It is precisely this type of conduct the court is focused on and it relates to general deterrence. The danger of this obsession is not restricted to low intelligent people, such as this mother. It can happen to anyone, including those with much education or high intelligence.
This court must send a clear message to the parents of young vulnerable children; there will be serious consequences to tragedies caused by distracted parenting."
The 31-year-old woman was sentenced to 90 days in jail to be served on weekends, to allow her to continue participating in a number of programs to better herself and get treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Her name is being withheld due to a court-imposed publication ban.
She will also be on probation for 24 months.