Category Archives: tech

Transparent parenting

Have you noticed the seemingly increased number of ads that feature family settings?

And not only that, but commercials online and on TV that show home scenes that are far from perfect?

It appears the concept of the “picture perfect” family is gone. That’s good, because the reality of occasional chaos and disorder is easier to relate to. However, it’s still interesting how unfiltered glimpses of family life have become more common.

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An End to Helicoptering?

Exposure to technology isn’t merely making kids smarter.

New research says tech nudges children toward independence. Becoming self-sufficient with gadgets is a step in the right direction.

Because we live in uncertain times, parents are also encouraging their children to learn through life experiences. Some parents still hover, but an increasing number believe experiences should include exposure to controlled risk taking.

Could that signal an end to helicopter parenting?

Shifting the screen balance

September means it’s time for the perennial fall balancing act.

Homework enters the picture for kids who’ve spent the summer playing video games, using social media and watching other screen-based entertainment. Nearly half of students rely on some type of electronic gadget for homework.

Electronic devices have a place, but a bigger challenge is to include tech-free family time in busy schedules.

Tech savvy=Smart?

Tech gives kids a head start. At least according to a recent study, that’s common thinking among parents.

And it is pretty amazing to see an 18 month old swish across a tablet or respond to the dancing images.

Researchers say 2 out of 3 preschoolers have access to a tablet, but parents don’t have an automatic love affair with tech. They worry about exposure to inappropriate content.

That’s a preventable problem. It simply won’t happen when the tablet is only used with mom or dad.

As an early childhood educator, I still need to ask, “What would a young children be doing if he wasn’t playing on a tablet? Would he be learning to ride a bike? drawing pictures with sidewalk chalk? setting the table for supper?

Customizing education

Customization has been embraced as a cultural value.

I guess it’s not surprising, then, that personalizing education is becoming more common.

This fall, an increased number of students will combine online learning with traditional instruction. This blended approach not only seems natural to parents who grew up with technology, but preferred, as our world becomes more digitally driven.

Alternative approaches to education are intended to meet the needs of students with varied learning styles. Now we’ll see if that happens.

The “Alexafication” of your child

Is your child polite to Siri or Alexa?

Those virtual assistants respond with age-appropriate answers, but manners are missing.

When your child talks to a virtual assistant, there are no manners on either end of the conversation. Does this mean our manner-deficient society will become even less polite as your children grow up?

That’s a risk, as even young children give orders to Alexa and other virtual assistants.

We don’t know how children will be impacted by “ambient computing,” as the industry refers to conversing with screenless devices, but in the meantime, we can all be proactive and model good manners.

Pushing the envelope

Seriously, do we need a salt shaker that plays music and a toaster that prints today’s weather forecast on bread?

Gadgets can make life easier, but we’re failing to ask a basic question: “Does this gimmick add value to my life?”