Technology for Parenting?

I have watched this video above about parents wanting to use technology to improve their life and giving their kids some distraction or fun along the way.  In the video, the parent (Ben Popper) says that he wants to be able to improve his life as a parent and searches the internet for all these products that can be used to do that.  Not, all the technology is useful, and as he says “some of this technology would totally make him stressed out if he used them all the time.”  In the end, Ben says the plain old iPad is the best tool to have for kids in the technology world.  Also in the video, they interview a woman, Liz Gumbinner, who runs the site, Cool Mom Tech which is suppose to help be a sorta gather of all the information around tech and parenting to put this in one place.  In the end, Liz says “Technology does great things but kids still like to play with cardboard.”  With all that knowledge, the best part of the video was when the main reporter (Arielle Duhaime-Ross) was in the MoMath museum and playing around with different items which seem to made Arielle enjoy the place.  There were a few items where technology was involved but in the end this got Arielle move around.

MoMath-rendering-upper-level

I understand where all of the adults in the video are coming from.  Parents in today’s world are overworked and need easier ways to do things they don’t enjoy which means using technology to improve parenting.  This will also allow them to give their kids technology early on to help in the long run.  With this, parents feel that kids are going to be using technology down the road, why not get them to use this earlier on?

I actually have experience with this second hand, as family members have kids and they use technology in different ways.  In my experience this doesn’t work in the end goal parents are using this for.  Kids are wanting to use technology like iPads, TVs, watch movies, be on a cellphone and more instead of going outside into the real world.  This is a huge problem as parents and kids need to get away from everything and let loose.

The story seems to be the same for most parents, kids are off to school in September, and done in April, May or June.  Parents need to fill that other unstructured time away from school with something.  In this day and age, parents are more stressed out as more of them are working jobs and parenting at the same time.  Even if one parent is not working, they want to fill their time with something that is not kid orientated.  All of this leads to using technology to distract kids or once kids know about technology, wanting to use technology as a fun tool and having a sense that this is another world they can see, or play with.

This leads me to think, why can’t parents have unstructured time outside for 1 hour a day, where the parent(s) and kid(s) get to play around.  This would allow for more family time, and really get people involved without having to use technology.  Does the world need to go faster then a lighting bold strike?  I would say no, the slow parenting is coming back harder then ever in recent years.  Even if the kid is in school, the summer is when parents are starting to say, the stress has made me crazy and need to slow down for a few months.  Even if kids are in school, George Monbiot (writes a weekly column for The Guardian, on environmental and political activism) says that kids should be rewild (which you can see in the video below) and taken out to nature to see what there is.  As was said in the video above kids love to discover, play around and get their hands dirty.  Even if parents don’t have the money to do that, schools or other groups can provide this for kids.

When I was little, there was three technologies around, 1.) TVs, 2.) Video Games, and 3.) Computers.  I did watch a lot of TV when I was young as that was the sorta of tool to use to educate me but not the only tool, as I did learn math and reading from my parents.  As for Video Games, I had an original Nintendo system which I played with, and played video games for many years of my life.  The computer was there at an early age but I didn’t really get involved with this until I was in Grade 4 or 5, from what I remember.  I also remember that I was outside a lot as a kid and did go on a few vacations when I was young.  I remember reading that the long vacations are gone but there are still many place to vacation nearby where people live.  Even if the world has gotten scarier, kids and parents can still play around without technology.

The question that should be on all parents minds is, does technology improve the lives of my kids or create even more stress?

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