19/12/2009 10:21 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Mother Twitters During Family Tragedy

A mother of a toddler who drowned in the family pool has sparked controversy for using Twitter before, during and after the tragedy.

It is believed Shellie Ross posted on Twitter minutes before the emergency services were called to her home and 34 minutes after paramedics took the two-year-old to hospital.

Now a row is raging on the Internet; was she negligent or is this just a tragic accident that demands our compassion rather than questions? And should she have turned to the Internet in the midst of the tragedy?
Ross, who blogs and goes by the name of Military_Mom on Twitter, has a huge following of 5,300 people and had posted mundane updates throughout the day to her followers.

At 5.22pm she wrote about the incoming fog scaring the chickens at their Florida home. According to USA Today, one minute later her 11-year-old son Kris phoned the emergency services after his little brother Bryson was found in the pool.

While he made the call Ross performed CPR on her toddler, said Joe Martin, Brevard County homicide investigator. The child was taken to Cape Canaveral Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 6pm.

It is unclear what Ross was doing between her 5.22pm post and when the emergency call was made but it is thought she was cleaning out the chicken coop with her older son while Bryson played in the backyard.

"Her tweeting had nothing to do with regard to what happened to her son," said Martin, "It was an accident." He said the investigation was still open but no charges would be filed.

But fellow mother, blogger and Twitter user Madison McGraw disagrees and believes that if Ross hadn't been on Twitter there might have been a different outcome.

"I wish we could start a donation in Bryson Ross' name to sue his mother for negligence. Why aren't people asking more questions about this? Do people not care about children and their safety at all? Who is looking out for children?", she writes on her blog.

It is also Ross' actions while waiting at the hospital for news of her son that has also shocked McGraw. At 6.12pm Ross posts another Twitter update "Please pray like never before, my two-year-old fell in the pool". Minutes later she was told he had died. Later that night she posted two pictures of her son on Twitter.

"The first thing I thought when I saw the tweet was that it was very sad. But then I thought who would tweet when her son had just drowned? I couldn't believe it," said McGraw.

Now she too has been criticised for not showing compassion to a grieving mother and has received threats and even had her address posted online.

Supporters of Ross, whose husband is in the air force and due to be deployed to Iraq, say tweeting during the tragedy was the modern day equivalent of phoning friends and, for someone who uses social media, a natural thing to do.

Ross has refused to comment but posted on her blog: "Let's try this why don't we, leave me alone, find your next victim and let my son's memory be one of good and peace and strength."

Source: (Floriday Today)
Source: (USA Today)
Source: (ABC News)
Source: (BBC)