Technology use has increased exponentially over the past few decades. Along with advancements in technology and its prominent use in our daily lives, parenting and parenting methods have also changed dramatically. It's natural for people’s behavior and activities to change over time, and this will be reflected in parenting habits as well. Each generation faces their own unique challenges when it comes to parenting, and today’s perspective seems to be heavily impacted by technology.
When you look back, there is a huge difference between how people raised their kids fifty years ago compared to today because... life changes. One of those changes is in technological advancements - they have changed the way we think and interact with the environment, and even altered our outlook on the world.
It is understandable then, to see how technology has affected parenting, arguably both in positive and negative ways. Technology not only has a hold on parents, but parents and caregivers also have to keep tabs on their kid’s use of technology, which is an added level of consideration, both positive and negative.
The internet is full of information, which can be a positive. Parents and caregivers can now find answers to many of their questions by just looking them up online, even finding support for any issue or challenge they may face.
While access to information is a positive, it also has its challenges. It's all too possible to find yourself looking at information that is not reliable. Luckily most parents and caregivers can exercise some common sense and discern which information is credible and which is not. Credible soures, such as from university research institutes or the CDC, can be relied upon, while memes or random, unsourced material, needs to be viewed with a healthy amount of caution.
Parenting is not easy. Sometimes parents and caregivers can feel lonely when they face difficulties. Back when technology use wasn’t as common, parents were limited in that they could only get “wisdom” and support from other parents and caregivers in their community. However, today, people can go online and connect with thousands of parents going through similar experiences. This also means that parents can learn from others on how to overcome issues they face in their struggles and they know that they are not alone and it is okay to struggle sometimes. This can help with both their mental and physical health. Without a doubt, these are positives.
Technology has advanced to the point that it is now relatively easier to keep tabs on your kid’s activities through smart devices. When your baby is born, you buy a baby monitor to see if your kid woke up or if they are in any kind of trouble. Today, technology has advanced in a way to turn smart devices into kid-safe devices, such as a GPS-enabled smartwatch, through which you can know the whereabouts of your child.
The Internet of Things, which is the interconnection of computing devices embedded in objects we use in our daily life through the use of the internet, connects even more devices together in your house for all of your smart devices to work together. Parents and caregivers can equip their houses with smart cameras or systems that would increase the safety of their kids. For safety, the advancements in technology bring positives for parenting.
Well, maybe not forever, but it is now easier more than ever to capture every moment, good or bad. You don’t have to worry if your camera runs out of film to take a picture of your baby’s cute outfit or a recital. Now you can film the entire thing on your smartphone and share it with the world if you like. Living and staying in the moment with your kid is extremely important. But it is a great opportunity to be able to take photos of your kid during their first outing or at the park and send it to your loved ones or keep it as long as you want. Definitely another check on the positive side.
We all had the chance to see the importance of online educational support in realtime during the pandemic of the last two years, when access to schools and educators was limited. There is a heap of quality education sources for kids online, ranging from smartphone apps to informative blogs, as well as entertainment options for kids, all important and needed during the time we were not able to go out. Truly, a huge benefit of modern technology.
Screens are everywhere we go now. Noone can deny that in many ways these screens, big and small, make our lives easier. However, this is also a challenging area for parents as too much screen time has the potential to cause problems for children’s development.
Screen time and its effects have no doubt been one of the more debated topics for modern parenting. It is important that parents are aware of and limit screen time to primarily positive, educational, and beneficial activities, monitoring their children's time spent looking at computer or mobile device screens. Parents and caregivers may find it difficult to navigate their kids’ screen time at first, but once a plan is set up and a discussion with your child is had on setting limits (once they are old enough to comprehend), kids can immensely benefit from the supportive screen time available, both for their entertainment and education. What may be a challenge at first, can indeed become a positive for both parents and children alike.
Unfortunately with technology, a huge negative is the reality that kids can be exposed to harmful content online. Some of the challenges is the difficulty of monitoring all the potential, inappropriate content, or that they may face cyberbullying when you're not aware. Luckily, there are tools that can help prevent children from seeing harmful content, but those may not always be enough. That is why parents now should be actively involved in their child’s online activities and talk with their children about what being online means. Having an open discussion about both the benefits and the dangers that they may face online is an important part of modern parenting if you want to keep your kids safe.
It is ironic that advancements in technology have brought us closer in a way, but also have caused a disconnect from real life and relationships. This is part of being a parent or caregiver, dealing with these challenges. Because we have our phones with us at all times, we have to be aware and ask ourselves: Are they occupying too much of our time? The potential for disconnection - or preoccupation - can cause kids to feel that they are left alone or are unimportant. Thus, as much as phones and devices help us, it is important for parents and caregivers to adjust their own screen time habits to both be a good role model for their kids, and to strengthen family relationships. It is vital that we not make children feel like they have to compete with devices to get their parents’ attention.
These are just a few considerations modern parents have to make when it comes to technology and their children. Hopefully it will help you minimize the negatives and maximize the benefits we have today, thanks to technology.
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