Facebooking Mom Whose Son Drowned Gets 10 Years

By Jackie Cohen Comment

Shannon Johnson received a ten year prison sentence for negligence in her son’s drowning over a year ago. The 34-year-old mom was playing Cafe World on Facebook and hadn’t checked on the 13-month old for ten minutes.

The Associated Press quoted Denver-area District Judge Thomas Quammen telling her in court:

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

Johnson’s case provides a rather extreme example of how addictive social games can be — being so caught up in a game that you lose track of your child. Sadly, we’ve seen an even worse example in the Florida mother who strangled her baby for crying while she played FarmVille. While we suspect the strangler may have had illegal stimulants in her bloodstream, we think the Colorado mother was more simply sober and negligent.

More to the point, the fact that these two mothers were playing games on Facebook — as opposed to any other platform — is almost inconsequential. Because the social network continues to make stories seem newsier, these tragic deaths have gotten more attention than they would have if the moms had been distracted in any other way.