The Digital Age of Parenting

As the holidays come to an end and the new year begins, millions of children around the world crave the new and latest techy gifts, all ranging from iPads, laptops, gaming consoles, cell phones, and many others to name a few. However, with these new and shiny toys, it poses issues that earlier generations weren’t exposed to. While growing up in the ’80s, technology was slowly emerging. We were the first to get our hands on Windows 1.0, the original Apple Macintosh, IBM 5150, Commodore 64, Gameboy, and who can’t forget the Clapper—You know, that household smart device that allowed automation for home lighting. How can we forget their advertising slogan: “Clap on, clap off”? Yes, that wonderful device. At the time, all of these devices were the foundation and cutting edge of technology, there is quite a distinction between then and now.

Childhood back then was so much simpler than it is today. With all of the technology slowly emerging, there were fewer distractions for children. For starters, everyone in the household shared the same phone. You never had to worry about kids always being on a mobile device ringing up the phone bill for going over their data plan or minutes. There was no such thing as a child’s browser history, so verbal and visual interaction was relied upon. I was always told that “if you sit too close to the TV, you will go blind,” which I found out later in life was a big lie—Thanks, Mom. Everything always ended up with parents saying, “Just go outside and play.” And heaven forbid, the worst thing on TV at that time was MTV.

With today’s society changing at a rapid pace, there are so many other things that parents need to worry about for the well-being of their children. While technology is a must for a child’s educational development, there is also a lot of unnecessary debris on the wonderful world wide web. Nowadays children all around the world, and adults, are glued to their technology. Whether it’s binge-watching a tv series or playing countless hours on an app, behind the scenes this fixation is instilling a dangerously addictive habit at a young age. This is just the start; You don’t know where your children are going or what they’re accidentally clicking on while trying to find a YouTube video. There are a lot of risky and unsafe places for young ‘Netizens’ these days and having to safeguard your children in bubble wrap is proving harder to do.

As a father of two beautiful girls, ages 5 and 13, I am having the never-ending task of forging new parenting techniques that I didn’t have instilled upon me while I was a child. Technology is heavily utilized in my household. From smart TVs and automation to mobile devices and IoT, and much more, I am having to step back and think through decisions based upon the best interests of my kids' future. While I do admit I am not perfect and always learning new ideas, I tend to try to adhere to some of my basic guidelines: 

  • Limit and restrict screen time

  • Technology is not a babysitter

  • Technology is a privilege and not a right

  • Monitor activity

  • No social media

  • Filter what can be accessed on the web

  • Be respectful both online and offline

  • No technology at dinner time

  • Be a parent and not a friend


While these are a few of my rules, what rules do you have for your household? What challenges do you face? How did you resolve it? Parenting in this new digital age can prove to be challenging yet rewarding. Make technology work for you and your family. I hope everyone has a prosperous new year!

 

About the Author
Andrew Gabriel is a Sales Engineer at Flycast Partners. Andrew comes from the leading Aerospace manufacturer in the industry. He brings customer experience and knowledge within the IT industry.

By Andrew Gabriel | February 10th, 2020 | 0 Comments

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