Parents and the Ways We Use Technology

November 29th, 2016 by

In today’s evolving world, families are consistently searching for opportunities to help them obtain a better professional and family life balance. One of the ways that parents attempt to achieve this equilibrium is the usage of technology in their day-to-day affairs. Using the internet or devices to obtain information can lead to increased education opportunities, maintaining familial contact, and communicating with people we normally wouldn’t have the chance to. Some negatives to technology include growing detachment among members in the family and a disconnect between a child and his or her parent. As further discussed below, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages to integrating technology into the household.

Advantages to using technology

Parent-teacher communication: Studies have indicated that increased parent involvement is a key component to student success and with the help of technological advances such as e-mail or class webpages, it’s become easier for guardians to engage with educators.

Family participation: Families can check in with each other using text or phone calls, which can be useful in the event of an emergency. A popular way that allows grandparents to keep in touch with grandchildren is the usage of videoconferencing, such as Skype, Facetime, or using a webcam on the computer.

Mobile applications: Nowadays, a parent can find and download an app for just about anything. Find My Kids and GPS Tracker Pro are free apps that allow guardians to keep track of children through their phone. There are also a multitude of educational apps that kids can use to learn new skills and vocabulary, such as PBS Play and Learn. Additional apps for parents also include ways to track budgets and manage schedules.

Video games: When video games were first released, parents were vehemently opposed to them and condemned them for what was assumed to be a negative effect on their children. However, with the right video games, children can learn critical thinking, enhance social development skills, and use as an emotional outlet. Some games can be used for educational purposes as well, teaching a child how to master basic grammar to complex math.

Social media: Hashtags, groups, and pages on Facebook and Twitter allow parents to communicate with other parents and leading childcare experts. Engaging in discussions on the internet can help caregivers foster friendships, obtain advice and knowledge about parenting, or know that someone is listening. Adults also use social media to keep track of children. One example of this is friending your child on a specific platform and monitoring his or her feed. Guardians have also asked kids to provide them with passwords and log-ins, regardless of the platform. This helps ensure that children aren’t communicating with anyone that they shouldn’t be.

Nanny cams: The usage of nanny cams has been a controversial topic in recent years. Monitoring a child’s safety is a parent’s right and using a nanny cam can add an additional sense of security. For adults with young children, the camera is especially beneficial because it can serve as a parent’s eyes and ears. Guardians should always make sure to notify the nanny that he or she will be notified prior to installing one. However, there are drawbacks to using one and we discuss those below.

Negatives to using technology

As with anything, there are drawbacks to incorporating technology into a family’s routine. Oftentimes both parents and children will turn to using their phone wherever they can find a signal. Below are some additional ways that technology can affect a household:

Helicopter parenting: Parents can use applications on their devices to monitor their children and in the same way that this can bring about many positive things, it can lead to being mistakenly identified as a helicopter parent. A helicopter parent is known as a parent who pays extremely close attention to his or her child’s experiences and problems, especially in relation to education. Technology has made it easier to contact teachers at all hours so parents can develop a pattern of reaching out for minor inquiries, running the risk of annoying the educator with too many unnecessary or mundane questions.

Nanny cams: Prior to installing one in your home, there are a number of legal issues you might want to consider as well as the effect it might have on your connection with the nanny. Oftentimes, it can be viewed as violating the trust in the parent/nanny relationship because footage can be misleading and lead to miscommunication. Instead, address expectations with your caregiver before hiring him or her to make sure that all the rules will be adhered to. Effective ways to monitor your children can be found here.

Dinnertime: It can be tempting to allow your child access to an iPad or phone when you arrive at home after a busy day at work. Children can also be too engrossed in their technological devices and be less likely to interact with their guardian when he or she comes home. Make sure to implement a strict no-phones policy at the dinner table. When the entire family sits down for mealtime, everyone eats healthier, and there are numerous developmental and mental health benefits. Some of these advantages can be found here. Parents, depending on their smartphone for work, should make it a priority to use technology less when at home and instead, focus on strengthening the bond with their children.

Independence: Adolescents have also become proficient at technology in a way that a parent might not be and therefore, don’t require the assistance of caregivers when they want to reach out to a family member or friend. Parents view this as a loss of connection to their children and an inability to monitor his or her child’s activities.

While technology might have its positives and negatives, it’s important to cultivate familial connections without it. Parents may want to familiarize themselves with their child’s daily schedule in order to be able to ask specific, open-ended questions at dinnertime. However, remember that kids are growing up in a digital world and parents should try to incorporate technology into the family as best as they can. Additional related information on touchscreen technology and its impact on our children can be located on our blog. The crucial lesson is that caregivers and children must use technology wisely and responsibly. Here at the Nanny Authority, we focus on placing nannies that are technology-conscious and use it in a wise and responsible manner. Contact us for more information today!