Imagine being a parent in the ’50s? Back then, there were no cell phones, tablets or laptops vying for children’s attention. But while that may seem lovely to some degree, keep in mind that there also weren’t many of the modern technological conveniences that we take advantage of as parents today. In other words, we sort of have to take the good along with the bad. Let’s take a look at a few of the ways having access to tech is transforming how we parent.
Back in the day, yelling to the backyard was a sufficient way to stay in touch with our little ones, but today – thanks to the fact that just about everyone has a smartphone – how we communicate has changed dramatically. On one hand, being able to stay in touch via voice, text or FaceTime can be great. On the other hand, the introduction of mobile phones may be diminishing verbal and/or face-to-face communication. There has to be a balance.
Learning and Support
Remember when research involved pulling out the encyclopedia or taking a trip to the local library? These days, the Internet has given us access to information about anything and everything with a few simple strokes of a keyboard. As a parent, being able to leverage things like online support communities and parenting blogs has been invaluable. Children also have the ability to learn from anywhere they can access the web. Confirming the validity of that information, however, and monitoring what sources our children are accessing online are both critically important.
Keeping your children safe from a physical predator is one thing. The Internet has created an entirely new realm of safety concerns for parents. These days, it’s frighteningly easy for someone to infiltrate the security of your home via the World Wide Web. That’s why as parents, it is imperative that we remain vigilant about the online safety of our little ones. This includes monitoring activity and teaching our children about Internet safety.
Sending your child to his or her room for a time out isn’t nearly as effective now that the room is outfitted with a television, video games and a plethora of other electronic devices. This has made discipline much more challenging to many. On the other side of the coin, the threat of taking away or limiting technology can be a powerful disciplinary tool. It all depends on the child.
How do you unwind at the end of a long day? Chances are it involves some type of tech, whether it’s streaming an episode of your favorite TV show, scrolling through social media on your phone or playing a few mindless games on your tablet. If you spend all of your downtime with electronics, your little ones will likely do the same. Incorporating some non-technical leisure activities can help create healthier habits. Think reading a book, playing a board game or just enjoying a little quiet time after dinner.
Obviously, technology isn’t going anywhere. It’s become an integral part of our lives and it’s been a game changer in many ways, including how we parent. That’s not to say that all tech is inherently bad. Reading a parenting blog for advice or letting your little one play on the iPad for a few minutes could be just the thing to save your sanity. The key is finding the right balance.