Published on September 6th, 2020 | by Sunit Nandi0
Parenting and Tech: The Good, the Bad and the Future
Rapid societal changes driven by tech affect parenting just as they do everyone else. In fact, if you have children whose age differences are 10 years or more, you might feel like you are raising the young one in an entirely different world compared to the one you raised the older one in. Some of the most rapid tech changes affecting parents and children include shifts in how education is delivered, the rise of social media and increased use of virtual reality and machine learning.
Planning for Education
How to pay for their children’s college has been a concern for parents for several decades, but as tuition has risen precipitously, the nature itself of education has changed a great deal as well. If you have young children, by the time they are in college, all classes may be offered entirely in a virtual classroom, and augmented and virtual reality might play a huge part in their education. It’s likely that education will still cost, though, and that could mean needing to take out private student loans. If your children are older and off to college in just a year or two, technological advances have made connecting with private lenders easier than ever. Online comparison engines can help you choose the best offers, and you can apply online as well.
Social media presents parents with challenges in two different ways. First, it can show unrealistic models of parenting perfection. This can make them feel as though they are not good enough and that they need to do more or have better relationships with their children. Second, parents have to keep an eye on whether social media is damaging to their children. From overt bullying to simply too much time online and not enough time in the offline world, social media can be harmful to children if parents do not supervise and limit its use. On the other hand, groups on social media can be a source of knowledge and support.
Children sitting in front of screens are getting less exercise, so it’s important for parents to make sure that they model physical activity and help their children stay active as well. Conversely, growing up surrounded by tech gives children a digital literacy that no other generation before them has had. Video games, when played in moderation, can improve not just hand-eye coordination but spatial reasoning.
As much as parenting has changed in the last 20 years, what will it look like in another 20? Families might actually spend more time together as technology allows them to work and be educated from home. Machine learning and artificial intelligence could mean that children’s toys and devices are increasingly smart and interactive. Robot nannies may sound like the stuff of purely science fiction or at least something still far in the future, but robots that can look after children to some extent have already been on the market for a few years. Much more sophisticated models are likely to be around in 20 years, but regulation, safety and ethical issues might make them more of a novelty or toy than serious parenting tool.