As parents face unprecedented demands on their time and emotional energy, technology is playing an increasingly essential role in our family's lives — involving Zoom school, virtual friendships, and more device use than any of us would like for our kids’ young minds.
At the same time, there’s a technology generation gap. Technology education and capabilities have changed dramatically since we’ve been in school — yes, even parents just a decade out of school. We can drag up distant, yet still relevant memories of history or grammar lessons to help our kids... but technology? Many parents simply don’t have the language let alone the headspace for anticipating all the challenges and benefits that technology introduces into our day-to-day activities.
If we can’t talk to our kids about technology, if we can’t give them advice relevant to their world, where are they going to to turn for advice? To strangers online? Are we OK with our kids saying things like “Oh yeah, dad, I forgot, you don’t know anything about computers” and not sharing what’s going on in their world?
Let’s face it. Many of us were raised from the perspective that TV watching was a necessary evil. Time wasting, but useful to keep the kids busy. A treat, but used sparingly and often the carrot in the parent-child relationship. That attitude, that perspective, has carried over to devices. And, all of a sudden, the device is not just a modern TV, but also a modern school and a modern telephone (with messages instead of phone calls).
The device becomes divisive when it’s thought of as a digital babysitter, a game, or a toy.
I believe that technology should be an enabler of connections and conversations instead.
In fact, technology can be one of the most equalizing educational forces, unlocking our children’s creativity and cultivating opportunity.
If only we treat it as such.
I’m a parent and a technologist. And I’m as disrupted by covid and disoriented by the technology in my kids lives as the next parent. My advantage, maybe, is that I have a language and a perspective around technology that helps me solve problems and anticipate my kids’ needs faster than other parents.
As a long time athletic coach I’m aware that great strides are made in small increments. Practice and curiosity beat talent almost every day of the week.
Using my coaching approach and skill at communicating complex technology topics simply, I’m going to share my experience teaching my kids all that technology offers.
I hope this newsletter helps other parents, so that they — those without the language or aptitude — can help their kids make the most of this opportunity.
The deeper integration of technology into our kids education and lives is the opportunity of a lifetime. And no one should be left behind.