All of those gadgets in all of our hands, and all of our attention divided and scattered. How could that possibly be helpful? The case against the damage modern technology can have on family life and marriage is well documented. Yet, that technology is not going to go away. So in our parenting, is it possible to use technology to our advantage regarding our children? All of our smart phones, tablets, social media, and the whole lot can and should be used to promote a closer bonding with our kids. How do we do that? Here are 5 ways:
The most magical thing about literature has always been its ability to provide a way for everyone to explore life, no matter their station. Modern technology holds the same magic and expands on it with all of the information of the world at our fingertips. For instance, if your child dreams of the animals of Africa, you can instantly take them on a virtual safari. Use this miracle to your advantage by opening up the window of endless opportunities to explore with your child. Go somewhere new every night.
2. Education in Other Cultures
“A stranger is simply a friend you haven’t met yet.” This popular cliché can be true. Rather than allowing your child to shirk back in uncertainty when meeting someone from a different culture, use technology to educate your kids about other people’s backgrounds. Why does a person from this country wear that? Why do they eat that? Etc. Technology can bring down stereotypes and increase understanding and affection.
3. The Power of Video
In the 21st century, we are a society on the move and our lives are impossibly busy. Mom has a presentation to give at 2 pm and her child’s soccer practice is at 4. Dad is sitting in an Interstate hotel at 10 pm working on the next day’s project. A soldier is on the other side of the world thinking about his child he has never seen in person. In the past, there was no way to bridge that gap. However, today we have wonderful video capabilities that allow us to remain connected with our children until we get back home to their hugs. That traveling Dad can now video chat with his son before he goes to bed and read him a story. Mom can check in on her daughter via Skype and tell her child she loves her. The brave soldier can shed tears as his wife holds his newborn son up to the camera. No technology can ever replace actual human contact, but it can certainly can bridge the gaps that divide us until we can get back to where our hearts reside.
In our parent/child relationships, communication issues are by far the largest source of conflict. This is especially true in the teenage years when our children are naturally seeking ever-growing independence from us. A parent should always use every tool at their disposal to break down those barriers and keep a continuous line of communication open. This is where technology comes in. Our children now communicate via text and IM with email even seeming outdated and ancient. That means we must do the same if we hope to deepen our bonds. For example, a text from Dad to his son before football practice saying that he is proud of him and to go get ‘em. Mom sends her daughter a warm private message on FB after her first boyfriend breakup. Technology is just another way you can tell your kids you love them.
5. School Involvement
When children fall behind in school, it leads to all sorts of problems, including their relationship with you. Children do not want to let us down and can be crushed when they feel we are disappointed in them. With the technology parents have available now, we can stay on top of our kids’ school work on a daily basis. Our children’s teachers are more accessible to us now and the school work is posted online and ready for our examination. We can check these things from all of our sources of technology and take the steps that are necessary for smooth sailing. When parents become deeply involved and invested in their child’s school life, usually the only additional steps required are to say, “Great job!”
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