Our world is filled with technology and new advances are emerging every single day. Some may think that society is starting to rely too heavily on these technological breakthroughs, while others believe it is the way of the future. Then, there are those individuals who are on the fence. Most of these individuals are parents.
As parents, we are consumed with thoughts about what is right and wrong for our children. We obsess about everything that could possibly go wrong with raising our kids. Is that rash normal? How can I help with my son’s homework when I can’t even understand it? Where the heck is my teenager right now? And the list goes on.
Back when smartphones and computers were unheard of, parents had to do everything the “old fashioned way.” These days, there are endless resources available right at our fingertips. We can pay our bills faster, check up on our kids without leaving the house, get doctor advice without going to the office, and so much more. Here are just a few ways that technology has actually aided in parenting.
Check on your child.
I recently found myself in a situation at Disneyland and couldn’t help but think about the way technology has improved the way we act in stressful situations. My family and I were about to get on the tram back to the parking garage, when we heard there was a fire that had started in there. The trams were at a halt and no one could leave. Not exactly an “emergency” situation, but nonetheless, it got me thinking about what parents did when there were no cell phones.
I asked my mother-in-law, who was there with me, and she said there wasn’t really a way to tell if your kids were okay during an emergency, you just had to assume they were stuck where they were and wait it out.
Can you imagine? I would be the biggest stress case of the century. Can you picture the chaos of parents running around, looking for their kids? The good news is, we now have a magical little device called a cell phone. We can call our kids (or the friend or family member with them) to see what is going on or where they are. I am sure this has taken tremendous stress away from most parents.
Three Letters: GPS.
Piggybacking off the last point, should your kid choose not to answer the phone, you can now use GPS to find them. Most phones are now equipped with some type of GPS software, such as the Find My Friends app.
Even in a non-emergency, say you have a teenager who is out past curfew. You want to know where they are, without calling them. GPS! You can easily follow their trek back to the house or you can call them and demand they start moving! Back in the day, the parent would have to get in their car and start a search party. This great little technological invention saves parents from having to spend hours, most of the time late at night, searching for their kids.
Concerned? Just ask Dr. Google!
The days of taking your child to the doctor for every little cut and bruise are over. You can save that $35 copay and the hassle of dragging your kid to an office full of actual sick kids by just googling the symptoms! I wonder if kids got sick more often back then because parents had no choice but to take them into the germ-filled office? Anyway, contagious germs are now avoided!
Now, that’s not to say that if your child has some serious problem that you can just google solutions. Doctors are still incredibly necessary and office visits are important, so don’t avoid it completely. But, for those times when you just aren’t sure about something, searching online for answers is such a huge help!
I think this is especially true for first-time moms. I remember being so worried about every little thing when my first daughter was born. Is she wetting enough diapers? Is it ok that she has a cough? What is this rash on her arm? Should I take her in? I seriously feel like there was something new every day. I may as well have been the receptionist for Dr. Google. BUT I saved a lot of money and time!
Electronic Nanny, anyone?
Okay, so this one may be a blessing or a curse to some parents. It depends on the rules you have set for your children in regards to screen time and whether you believe in handing them digital media for entertainment. However, tablets and television can provide a great distraction if you need to get something done. Things like cooking and cleaning, without your kid coming into the kitchen every five minutes saying they are bored or asking for something. This mainly pertains to younger children with the attention span the size of a peanut.
I realize that television has been around for a long time, but tablets are still a new thing and can provide tons of educational entertainment. There are some fantastic learning apps for kids like Kidjo, Habitat, and Duolingo (this last one’s fun for adults too). Ozobot’s online OzoBlockly Games are a great option for kids who want to learn to code! These apps can keep your child entertained for quite some time, enough time for you to get that task completed without interruptions.
Don’t risk waking up your baby.
You know what they say. “Never wake a sleeping baby!” Us parents cannot agree with this statement more. NEVER WAKE THEM. I repeat, LET THEM SLEEP. There are very few precious moments of infant parenthood when your baby is sound asleep and you can finally get that workout in. Or clean that bathroom sink. Or take a nap. So, why is it that when they sleep for a slightly longer amount of time than normal, must we decide we NEED to check on them?
There are so many concerns these days with babies and the risk of SIDS, so it’s no wonder that parents are totally freaked out. We want to protect our kids as much as possible.
The solution? Video baby monitors!
Man, these things are a lifesaver and the zoom features are incredible! With things like night vision, a talk to your baby feature, and a wide range, these things help tremendously! I can zoom in up to 3x on the Summer Infant monitor I have and I can SEE my daughter breathing. Unreal. No more trying to be a ninja and sneak into the nursery. We all know that never ends up working.
What on Earth is Common Core?
Learning has changed so much over the years. By the time your kids are in school, there will be a new core curriculum and way of doing things and let’s face it: you will forget most things anyway.
The internet can be a great tool for homework help. YouTube has tons of tutorials for math problems. Just remember to teach your children integrity. The internet is great, but only for help and not for direct answers!
You can also check your kid’s grades online (at most schools) at any time. So, the old “I never got my report card” excuse is now OUT.
These days, more and more moms (and dads!) can work from home due to the ability to telecommute. The internet has made it possible to login from anywhere to get work completed. Technology, per Fortune, is going to create 25 million new jobs.
It is a dream that most parents, back in the day, would never have thought possible. Working from home was unheard of 20 years ago. When I asked my own mother about it she said, “I don’t think I knew anyone who worked from home. Everyone had a job that they had to get to. There was no ‘working from home.’”
Personally, as a writer, I work remotely and it has been a huge blessing for my family. I can spend more time with my kids while at the same time, I am doing something that I love and providing for them.
Bill Paying Made Easy.
When was the last time you mailed a check to pay a bill? Almost every single bill now has an online payment option or even an autopay feature. Simply put in your credit card information and your bill will be automatically paid on its due date each month. However, if you are like me and are terrified of autopay, we still get the option to just go online and pay. No more hassle of writing checks or making sure to send them out on time before getting charged a late fee. Less stress = happier parents.
Picky Eaters? Just Consult Pinterest!
Oh, Pinterest. The database of intentions. Where do I begin?
For most, Pinterest is the place you go to find projects that you’ll never complete. Let’s face it, how many times have you pinned something and never seen it again? Mastering the DIY projects on there always seems like a great idea at the time, but I can’t even count the amount of times I never thought about them again.
BUT, Pinterest is a great source for recipes.
I am not talking gourmet, hours in the kitchen, total mess recipes. I am talking about EASY, QUICK and HEALTHY meals. Can I get an “Amen”?
We all want healthy meal options for our kids, right? We also know that when kids are hungry, they are hungry NOW.
Pinterest has been a huge resource for me as a mom. You can search for anything. Just type in “quick, easy, healthy dinner” into the search box and BOOM! Hundreds of results for you to look through.
And, if you have a picky eater like I do, it’s super easy to find “toddler friendly” meals as well.
The days of dragging out the old cookbook are over.
Social Media Support Groups.
In my honest opinion, I believe this to be the BIGGEST breakthrough for parents. There are countless support groups on Facebook. I mean, you can probably find a group about ANYTHING. For example, I am a part of several groups including: Orange County Moms, Fit(ish) Mamas, and Huntington Beach Kids Corner.
Without these groups, I know a lot of parents would be lost. You can connect with other parents all over the world who are going through the same thing. You can ask for advice from someone who has overcome the struggle that you are going through.
Facebook groups have made it possible to schedule play dates and find new mom friends, get exercise and diet tips, ask for support during illnesses or events, and even buy/sell/trade kids’ clothing and toys. It’s like going to a garage sale, without getting up at the crack of dawn and dragging the kids out of the house. Win!
Teens Broadcast Behavior via Social Media.
It’s hard to meet a teenager these days who does not have a social media account. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. parents can now check up on what their kids are up to. You want to know who your teen is hanging out with? Check out their Facebook friends. What did they eat for lunch today? It’s probably on Instagram with an artistic filter.
Teenagers will post about EVERYTHING. Privacy is now a thing of the past. They will document their entire day on social media, which makes it easy for parents to make sure that their kids are not getting into trouble.
So, there you have it! These are just a handful of the different ways that technology has aided in the lives of parents. What are some ways that technology has helped you? Let me know in the comments!