As a late 80’s baby, I can say that since the age of 10 we had a computer in our home. Surely we had televisions in every room and as the world of technology evolved around us, our participation in it did as well. But even in my 20-some-odd years on this earth, life as I know it has become heavily dependent on technology aids.
As a mommy-to-be, this raises some concerns for me. I cannot help but anticipate that raising a child in this technological era will require a greater understanding of the tech-advances as well as monitoring and effectively incorporating what my child is exposed to.
When we were children, we ate dinner as a family—at a dinner table as a unit. But as technology advanced and we grew accustomed to a certain form of life, those fundamental ideas became loose memories. The idea of a family unit started to dissolve. We would eat dinner in separate rooms and some of us in front of the television while others stared at the computer screen. This leads me to believe that with the introduction of quicker, more advanced technological devices, my child will be at risk to develop a dependency to these non-fundamental family habits.
But while technology has its shortfalls, it has its advantages as well. Parenting in the 21st century has its benefits. We as parent have greater resources, opportunities and assistance than previous generations. We are able to provide our children (and ourselves) with information with just a click of a mouse. Children’s toys, educational aids, and child care items have improved in quality. Regular baby monitors are now available with both audio and video monitoring systems. Thermometers are now digital — making the hand-to-forehead method obsolete. The old-fashioned heating of bottles in pots or microwaves has now been replaced by top-of-the-line electric bottle warmers. Technology practically takes the work out of conventional parenting.
There are also some things that technology can’t do for a parent. The key is to be able to decipher when (and for what) technological assistance is appropriate and to utilize it effectively. We must be very strategic and disciplined in how much we rely on technology and to what we expose our children. We still want our children to be able to fend for themselves in the event that a circumstance arises where these advances are not readily available. Afterall, E-hugs will never be equivalent to the ones you receive from your little one on a day-to-day basis.