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I'm Jessica McDaniel, and May 2017 marked my 14th anniversary photographing babies and their families all around Boston.

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© 2017

I need to interrupt this regularly scheduled photography blog for a personal note.

So the real truth is I’ve been challenged by trying not to look at my phone while I’m in the car for years. I’ve taken pledges, I’ve downloaded apps to try to force me to not use my phone… and honestly, nothing has worked. The pull of the chance to just get one or two things accomplished at stoplights would win every time.

But then my incredibly disciplined husband (he’s always been better about this than I’ve been) texted me a link to this video a couple of weeks ago. His message said, “I wish everyone who drives would watch this video.”

So I watched it. It’s long, over 3 minutes. But it got me thinking. I would love it if you would take 3 minutes to watch it. Just trust me, it’s not gross or anything, it’ll just make you think.

So I said to him, YES. This video sings my song. The guy in the video parks his car before he calls his wife back. He doesn’t text in the car when the kids are there. But the buzzing draws his eye.

I knew I needed help with the technical side of my problem. The stupid buzzing. I didn’t want my phone to buzz at me in the car, but my big technical problem is that I use my phone as a GPS. I mount it on my dashboard for a huge percentage of the time that I’m in the car – so I see the buzzing. I have a really hard time not looking at it. (The app I downloaded couldn’t lock out iMessages, so it really ended up not being that helpful.)

But guys, I finally figured it out. I have a plan now, and I feel really good about it.

So now, when I’m starting the car, no matter whether I have kids in the car or not, I go through these steps to set my iPhone to “Do Not Disturb”. This means texts don’t get through, no matter what! Hallelujah! And the best part? I can still use my GPS to get to my photoshoots. Phewf.

beforeidrive-blog

And the second part of my new plan is the part I’m liking the best. See, my older daughter is 10, about to be 11. My little one is 7. They see what I do. I am constantly driving them places, and driving their friends around, too. I know in the blink of an eye they’ll be taking the car and I honestly don’t trust that the technology is going to fix the problem of texting and driving before they and their friends get behind the wheel. I know the behavior needs to be modeled now so it’s ingrained.

So now I first set the phone to “Do Not Disturb” (so my Apple Watch won’t buzz on my wrist) but then I hand it back to the kids and I ask them to drop it behind them into the wayback of the car. They pass it from one to the other, and each time we talk about how distracting the phone is. How we don’t need to be distracted. How “annoying” the phone is in the car. How hard it is for me to have it near me up in the front seat of the car. And we talk this way in front of friends when I’m driving carpool. We make fun of mama and how this is the only way she can avoid distraction.

Please please please let this mean that in five short years when I have sixteen year old driver in my house that she will NEVER ever consider having a phone anywhere near the front seat of the car. And “Do Not Disturb” will be her norm every time she turns the keys in the ignition.

Comments

  • Todd Robbins
    Todd Robbins
    reply
    Sep 27 2016
    That is my son Finn in that spot. We are so proud that his is part of something so powerful with such an important message.

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