OPINION: Should parents be banned from taking pictures at school prize giving ceremonies?

accreditation
Photo by lifesimply.rocks on Unsplash.
Photo by lifesimply.rocks on Unsplash.

The 2019 school year is almost over, and as parents, teachers, support staff, and management, we should finish strong and push just a little harder to realize our goals for the year. Term 4 is also a time for awards and celebrations. This reminded me of my son's second prize giving last year, ten more to go. 

It was the last day of a hectic and long school year; parents descended into the venue excited to see their little ones progress into the next grade. 

As we remained seated, waiting for the event to start, I observed the interactions. One parent said to me 'I could never do this; it's too much work.'

Teachers were clearly tired with each family fighting to sneak in a word about their children's performance and the kids battling for their attention even on the last day. Teaching is one noble profession! 

As the principal announced each grade, the learners walked in from the back through the aisle. Led by their teachers, the kids made their way to their designated seats in the front, as us parents clapped and cheered. 


Also see: At this year's prize giving, we are all achievers

Are we turning into the paparazzi? 

The stars of the day, the grade R's, made their entrance in oversized graduation gowns, it was eye-watering. The cheers and claps became louder and more intense. The whole thing then progressed into each grade receiving academic and non-academic awards and certificates alike.  

However, this quickly degenerated into a photo and video taking challenge, with parents making their way to the front armed with their smartphones battling for pole position.  The aisle soon disappeared, becoming a platform for the picture-taking parents blocking the rest of the seated families. 

The parents that remained seated had to ask their counterparts to move out of the way, but that didn't help any. More and more parents made their way to the front joining the professional photographer that the school had hired. 

Somehow, we turned into the paparazzi-like those we see on MTV, and our kids were the stars.  As much as we were all excited and proud, it took away from us being fully present and enjoying the moment. Because of all these distractions, the parents who remained seated couldn't hear or see when their kids and other children were called to collect their certificates.  

Maths, literacy and Zulu whiz kids, kids that demonstrated determination, grit were announced, but we couldn't see nor hear.  

Preoccupied with taking the perfect photo

Perhaps schools should make use of 360 cameras and other photographic technology. Maybe this is an opportunity for entrepreneurs or camera/technology companies to tailor an affordable offering that could cater to this.

Allowing for these functions to be recorded (both video and pictures) and then families can download the images and videos they want to post after the event. Should parents be banned from taking pictures inside the prize-giving/graduation venue?  Living in the smartphone and social media age means always feeling the need to capture, post and share. But it's exhausting and inconsiderate to others most of all to the kids.

Instead of being fully engaged, we are preoccupied with taking the perfect photo and selfie. Hopefully, such an intervention will result in us being fully present and engaged in these priceless moments. 

Happy Holidays! 

Sean Mbusi is father to a seven-year-old boy and the founder of Kamva Education. 

Chat back:

What's your take? Share your opinion with us and we could publish it. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

WhatsApp: Send messages and voicenotes to 066 010 0325

Email: Share your story with us via email at chatback @ parent24.com

Read more:

Picture of boy comforting his classmate on first day of school goes viral for all the right reasons

Sign up for Parent24's newsletters.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
11% - 1458 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
49% - 6499 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
37% - 4957 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
4% - 478 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.25
-0.0%
Rand - Pound
19.72
+0.5%
Rand - Euro
16.72
+0.3%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.53
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.5%
Gold
1,786.13
-0.2%
Silver
20.30
-0.0%
Palladium
2,237.00
-2.3%
Platinum
949.72
-1.2%
Brent Crude
99.60
+2.2%
Top 40
64,200
-0.7%
All Share
70,914
-0.5%
Resource 10
64,261
-2.4%
Industrial 25
86,839
-0.3%
Financial 15
16,105
+0.9%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE