Tips for Parents in the Digital Age

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Do you feel overwhelmed by today’s technology? Do you worry about how apparently ‘kids use to play outside and walk to their friend’s houses instead of texting’ and that you’re being a bad parent for allowing inside play and mobile phones?

We have all heard it. How things were better “back in the day”. I had a colleague who I had to sit next to for about 8 months once, who retold the story of how when he was younger he use to have to walk to someone’s house to find out if they were free to go do what ever it is teenage boys did 40 years ago. He thinks that kids shouldn’t be allowed to play any electronic games or indoor games and should just be outside all the time. This is a man who could barely use his computer and had no idea how to use Excel, which is a basic skill for anyone in the workplace today.

And anyone who says that’s how we were raised and we came out fine – I say look around you, this world is a devastating and cruel place. This is what yours and past generations have left us.

Change Is Necessary

People automatically veer away from change. It’s a normal human reaction to any change but change is necessary otherwise I’d be sitting in my dank cave right now fighting off a hungry bear.

Even if you can’t see that and you believe that your generation was better off, change is inevitable. Embrace it or get left behind. I was at a trade-in shop the other day and there was an elderly lady trying to trade in a phone but she wasn’t able to because she didn’t understand the basics of what the staff was telling her. Some banks are now moving away from taking cheques in-branch (who still uses cheques though right?) and you can now do this with your banking app right from home. How about today’s fantastic photo and video sharing? How many of our parents and grandparents even have baby photos of themselves or who were able to share their children’s youth with their own parents? You can see your grandchild’s first steps because it’s likely their parents would have spammed all their WhatsApp contacts with it.

You may not like change, but if you fight it you will be left behind and you will miss the fantastic benefits of it.

Using Technology To Make Your Life Easier

I was told by someone once that he thought I was wasting my money on the Nest thermostat, which incidentally I got during the Amazon Prime Day deals for 35% less because he would rather spend his money on a new fishing rod. He had at that point just spend Β£2000 on fishing gear and he prefers to fish on his own, for a whole week without his wife or kids. I did not tell him what I thought of that, because unlike him, I understand that people are all different and like different things. Because if everyone in the world was the same, it’d be boring. Variety is the spice of life!

Seriously though, for Β£2000 that fishing pole should be voice activated and at least also make a cup of tea.

6 Tips for Parents in the Digital Age:

  • Hands Free Commands – This is how my morning usually goes; I go downstairs with my hands full, dirty mugs from the night before, laundry, phone, tablet, school clothes, clean potty, handbag… as you can imagine with a toddler who just woke up, my hands are literally full in the mornings. “Alexa, turn off the lights upstairs. Alexa, turn on the heating. Alexa, what’s the weather today? Alexa, what is traffic like today? Alexa, turn on the kettle. Alexa, what’s on my calendar for today? Alexa, give me another pair of hands.” It helps me prepare for the day.
  • Up To Date – Traffic and weather updates are so important to me, knowing if I should leave earlier and whether or not to take raincoats and wellies. I personally prefer hands free as I’m non-stop in the mornings, but these can easily be obtained on any smart device.
  • Reminders – I keep my calendar updated with EVERYTHING. I have all our calendars synced so that we never double book things. I make sure to make a habit of checking it each morning, just in case I’ve forgotten something. School events are usually quite abundant, this is a good way to keep on top of it.
  • Fun – Let’s not forget the fundamental point of technology. Yes, it is invaluable in helping us evolve into a more sophisticated society and it has it’s security, health and practicality benefits. Ultimately though, how much fun have we had because of it? Having a family night in playing Mario Party on the Switch is something which brings a lot of families hours of fun.
  • Uncooperative Kids – Alexa has skills which help with things like brushing your teeth, this is something most kids love using and it really helps in getting kids to do things in the morning that can sometimes be difficult to get them to cooperate on. Especially if you’re strapped for time.
  • Incorprate School Curriculum – Other than the fact that kids will need a PC one day when doing homework, to start with you can now even use vidoes which are shared via YouTube, to help your preschoolers practice what they are learning at school.

I wanted to add a note on the hands free part. Keep in mind that your smart devices can all be controlled without having to pay extra for an Amazon Echo Device, as you can put the app on your phone or tablet and that effectively acts as the Echo.

Should I keep my kids away from technology?

The short answer is no. The internet is a scary place, but it has its benefits. Use our guide to help keep them safe. Educate yourself about technology, to help your kids prepare for this brave new world.

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