Smartphones and parenting: friends or foes?

29 Jul

For those raising children in this technologically savvy generation, there are many pitfalls to maneuver regarding all the gadgetry and electronic etiquette.  No one wants their child to be illiterate in the ways of the tech-world, but unplugging your child can sometimes seem like a constant battle.  My own just-turned-12 year old is often on her MacBook making videos, browsing YouTube and video-chatting with her friends.  I realize this is the modern day equivalent of me dragging a zillion mile long phone cord and closing it in my door to chat with my friends for hours on end, yet still I want to unplug her occasionally.  The main issue I fear is that so many children will be so used to the virtual world, that they will have difficulty dealing with real people.  My daughter is active on sports teams and various other activities, yet still…I worry.  However, the plus side is that she is absolutely gifted in the art of movie-making and she has a very keen eye for photography which we are continuing to enourage her with.  Technology offers many advantages in both of those areas and is certainly a fine hobby.  Many people even turn these passions into their career.

Parents are also finding technology to be useful in daily life with their children.  My daughter and I browse books together to see what she would like to read next, we look at recipes to see if there is anything we should add to our dinner menu, we look up interesting things she hears about at school, and we look up different places we’d like to visit and explore.  My appointments are all in my iPhone and on my computer and our family photos are also on my computer.  We make a Shutterfly album each year, displaying the coolest pictures from the adventures of the past twelve months.  We watch her favorite shows together at our convenience, so they don’t interrupt all the fun outdoor activities we love to do.  We watch snowboarding videos to see how to ride better on the mountain.  We use homework practice sites to help her skills.  So yes, it is amazing to have access to all of the Internet at your fingertips.

And yet, I often have her leave hers home and keep mine off, just so we are not disturbed when we are out enjoying the very real, gorgeous nature all around us.  And mine is almost always on silent when she is with me, so I’m not distracted by it. This has also come back to haunt me, when my husband tries to call and I never answer the phone.  ;)  How about you?  Is your smartphone friend or foe?

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