As you all probably know, I have been editor of the Family Technology Section on Type-A Parent (formerly Type-A Mom) for quite a while. I am all about the ease with which technology helps families. Technology can help you keep in touch, keep on schedule, entertain, and cope with the everyday stresses of life. But as the below article courtesy of Powwownow reminds us, there is a time and a place for everything. And it is up to parents to set the ground rules and make sure that our kids don’t get sucked in and overwhelmed by the technology around them. My kids computer is set to shutdown at 8pm each night. After that, it is off limits. It is also very, very locked down. Any website that they try to access that is not in the approved list, they get a pop-up telling them that I need to come and approve it.
Technology has definitely changed the world. To see the rate of progress all you need to do is compare your phone today, with your phone of five years ago – unless you’ve been living under a rock, there will be a huge difference between the two. We live in a world of gadgetry, and this has not failed to affect our lives in significant ways. For parents the effect is compounded: technology not only changes the way we live our lives, but the way we raise our kids. Like many things, this is for the good in some ways, and for ill in others.
Let’s start off with the good: many recent advances have been about communication, indeed technology is making the world smaller by the second. And good lines of contact are crucial for good parenting. Rather than futilely sitting around worrying where your kids are, you can pick up the phone and text or call them on their cell phones. The same holds true when kids go away on school trips as they can keep in touch with email or text, allowing you to check up on them. Can you imagine trusting other people to take care of your kids for days on end without hearing from them? Luckily, these days you don’t have to. You can also use the internet to access a huge amount of educational information that will allow you and your children to learn together in a fun and interactive way.
Sounds great right? Well let’s not forget about the bad. There is some unsuitable information out there on the internet, and your kids can use their phones to talk to their friends at times when it might not be appropriate. There’s nothing worse than cooking a delicious dinner and then watching as your kid texts constantly throughout it, or being ignored when they plug into their iPods and refuse to listen to you. You will also need to install some controls on your computers to ensure that they don’t look up inappropriate information on the net.
This is where technological parenting comes in: you’ll need to make some rules (banning phones at the dinner table is a good start) and ensure that your kids don’t spend their whole lives staring at computer screens until their eyes go square. But also harness the good – get your kids phones so they can stay in touch, use the internet to communicate when they are away and as an educational tool. Technology has changed the world, and in the process changed parenting: mostly for the better.