Modern Parenting in the Digital Era
When technology can be considered a benefit to productive parenting—and when it can become a hindrance to happy kids.
Technology poses several challenges to parents. How much exposure should kids get to technology? When it is time for them to get their own smartphone? Should they learn to code to better compete in the digital economy?
For many parents today, striking a balance between the technology barren realities of their youth with the hyper-technical environment kids currently enter can be daunting, to say the least. Often parents must decide how much they will rely on technology do their parts of their job for them.
For instance, a child having a tantrum might be quickly calmed by a tablet, but is that the best approach to parenting? It depends on the situation, most likely, but there are sure to be experts on both sides of that argument.
Parents could tap technology as more of a comfort to themselves, in some cases. Take baby monitors, for example. There are apps such as Baby Monitor HD that touts itself as the “next-generation baby monitor” that lets parents “see and hear their baby from anywhere in the world.” Download the app and keep an eye on baby via an iPhone or iPad.
Tween Tracking Devices
A souped-up Webcam is great for children that can be confined to a crib, but how do parents keep tabs on their tweens? New apps from startups such as Jiobit promise to locate children using wireless technology both indoors and outdoors. (Jiobit just closed $3 million in seed funding for its tracker that attaches to a belt or backpack and its mobile app.)
The premise of a GPS tracker isn’t new, but the technology is evolving to be more comprehensive and cover more area than previous iterations. Parents could rely on this app to more quickly locate their children when shopping at a large mall, which in the case of missing children immediate access to information and speedy reactions are critical.
Would parents start to loosen the restrictions on kids to a point they ultimately become less secure? If these apps require data on the children and then connect to devices tapping into the Internet of Things, the potential threat increases.
For instance, smart toys have been noted to expose owners to potential security vulnerabilities that could enable hackers to access and change the account information. While some of the actions hackers could take in these accounts might not be considered a real threat to the children, having detailed information on the child would be something many parents would not willingly share with unknown people.
Technology, while it offers many perks, won’t be the silver bullet to safer parenting. Parents will have to weigh the potential risk against the security protections some of these digital era apps offer. And while a data breach can ruin a company’s brand, compromising information on a child could lead to a much more devastating outcome.