It seems a distant memory growing up as a small boy in the 1980s.
I can’t really remember living in the north of England for the first 3 years of my life, before we moved to London.
(apparently I fell in the pond in our back garden, which gave everyone a nasty scare!)
Fast forward to today and my parents are now both in their 70s and I find it enlightening to find out what life was like for them when they brought me up.
My mum stayed at home to look after me and my brother until we started school, and my dad worked full time. That was common place in the UK thirty to forty years ago..
..but having two full-time parents is certainly the norm these days.
However, one of the biggest changes in today’s society is technology, and how we use it as parents.
The Internet, computers and mobile phones have transformed our lives and in this article I will look at how technology has changed parenting, as well as its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of using technology in parenting
Access to information
These days we can access information via the Internet very easily. We can get quick answers to a whole range of parenting topics. For example..
How do you get rid of the dummy?
How to help my child sleep better at night?
What games can I play with my toddler?
With a click of a mouse, or tap on a screen, you can get the answer you’re looking for in seconds.
This is a great time saver in the modern fast paced lives we live today
With the internet, you can find a relevant tribe and chat to other parents online. There are Facebook and WhatsApp groups, forums and other online groups where you can find other parents to chat about any issues you’re having, or to seek advice on certain topics.
It can be very reassuring to realise you’re not alone, and other people have struggles as well.
Disadvantages for parents using technology
More stress and less time to spend with children
With the internet and email, it’s never been easier to access information and keep in contact with people..
…but this in itself brings up some challenges for parents.
More and more parents work full-time, as one household income simply isn’t enough for the majority of families, and it often means coming home in the evening, trying to spend time with your children, making dinner and then having to deal with emails and other work related issues.
Consequently, you have less time to yourself, to relax and unwind. This can create more stress as it’s harder for modern day parents to switch off.
Work life balance has never been so UN-balanced for many families.
This is a term I came across whilst looking for content for this article.
It basically means with the influence of social media, parents can make assumptions and comparisons based on the little bits of information we see online without knowing all the facts.
For example, parents tend to only share the joyous aspects of having children publically.
Whether its photos from a holiday, or a family playing happily in the park, while no one doubts these are nice moments, it can make other parents feel inadequate when they see these images online in the latest Facebook or Instagram update.
It makes parenting look like a walk in the park, when in reality we all know it has its ups and downs.
Does no one have to deal with all the tantrums and sleepless nights?
Of course they do, but it’s very rare for someone to post this on Facebook publically.
Furthermore, parents can be so quick to judge others online, without knowing all the facts often acting like keyboard warriors.
In one Facebook group, my wife merely mentioned about how long people show cartoons to their children (referring to my 18 month old daughter at the time), and the amount of negative comments was extraordinary, and some were quite abusive.
One comment read, “What sort of parent shows any cartoons to a young child?”
Of course showing cartoons for long periods of time is not good, but 5-10 minutes every so often is not going to hurt is it?
My wife was quite upset by the reaction.
Finding the right answer
When I said earlier “With a click of a mouse, or tap on a screen, you can get the answer you’re looking for in seconds”..
..I should have said “AN answer in seconds”.
Sometimes it’s very hard to find the RIGHT answer online because there is so much information, and in social media groups, there are such strong opinions that they can be very convincing.
How are you supposed to crawl through all the websites and Facebook posts to find the answer you’re looking for, especially when everyone is so busy these days.
I think the way we view technology and parenting should be one of balance.
It’s a useful tool, but nothing more than that and it’s important not to become overly reliant on it.
Maybe it’s better to have a coffee with a friend who knows you if you want to have a chat, rather than get the advice of some keyboard warrior who has no idea about you, your children or how you live.
We need to stop comparing what other people are doing, and just be honest with ourselves more.
Maybe being “good enough” as a parent is more than your children need to grow up into wonderful people.
And I’m sure most parents would say they’re “good enough” to raise children 🙂