Remember Tamagotchi pets? Those little virtual animal keychains that you had to spend all day caring for? When I was a kid, those were at the height of digital awesomeness. The world has changed a bit since dial-up internet and virtual puppies. Heck, my 18-month-old can unlock my iPhone and take a selfie. My 1st grader uses an iPad every day in class.
Many parents view technology as a threat to childhood and simplicity. It doesn’t have to be! There are ways to embrace new tech and not loose the sacredness of childhood. You can set time limits on most devices so that they shutdown automatically. If you own an Amazon Fire tablet, you can download FreeTime for a small monthly fee. This app streams only child-friendly games and shows, appropriate for ages 7 and under. Tech is great for busy parents, too! There are apps for breastfeeding, sleep schedules, calendars, math, reading, recipes, and there are even apps for organizing your photos.
Let’s talk social media. As with every aspect of parenting, communication is huge. Set clear boundaries and make sure you know what social media platforms your child uses and has interest in. Research them. Get your own account and test it out (I’m a fan of Snapchat filters!) I’d also like to point out that there is no reason for a social media account to be public. Make sure all your children’s profiles and your profiles are set to private. Talk to your kids about not accepting friend requests from people they don’t know.
New tech and social media platforms pop up seemingly every day. Embrace it! Have fun with it. The key is to remain knowledgeable and find the balance that works for you and your family.