As a mother working in the technology industry, my insight and beliefs about what my children should know and learn have definitely changed. When my oldest was born, nearly 11 years ago now, the first touch screen phone hadn’t even come out, we had no idea where this technology thing was going to take us.
Obviously, that has changed in the last 11 years. Nearly everyone has a smart phone, utilizes it on a minute by minute basis, and can do anything from playing a game, to using a calculator, to booking an entire vacation or shopping online. We all have tablet computers, laptop computers, and bring your own device (BYOD) is becoming more common. Technology is truly taking over our lives, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something making parenting more… interesting.
My oldest has a math brain. He’s extremely smart, and he loves to figure out how things work. He’s got all sorts of career goals. My youngest is definitely the child who acts out in class, loves to play and watch sports, and he’s six, so his current career goal is “build things,” that’s a fairly vague statement so I’m working with him to figure out what that looks like for him in 15 years. Both of my children have iPads at my house. They’re both perfectly adept at using them. I have purchased a few “fun,” games for them but for the most part they have strictly educational games.
I’m sure you’re curious how I handle having technology in the house though, I have a system that monitors the amount of internet they use and turns off their internet usage when it exceeds the amount of time they’re allowed. I also use all the parental controls on Apple’s new system to maintain how much they’re allowed to do, as well as what they have access too. They are only allowed to use our internet in the house, as I’ve explained to them that it’s dangerous to use public internet.
The last thing I’m doing is working on teaching them to code. My youngest loves it, as it’s building and creating, my oldest needs a bit more of a challenge then when the “kids” games provide, but he understands the concepts and when provided with coding in the future I’m sure he’ll pick it up quickly.
In my mind though, one of the most important skills we can give our children right now, is the basic knowledge on how to code. It’s truly the future. We’re living in such a technology focused and driven world that there is no chance that coding won’t exist in the next 60 years. It might get more difficult and even more technical, but it will not stop existing, of that I’m confident.
How are you parenting differently in this new world of technology?