Parenting in the age of social media is no easy endeavor.
On the one hand, the web has allowed thousands of parents greater flexibility, either by working in traditional jobs from their home or starting and promoting their own businesses with the help of Facebook and Twitter. No longer needing to “go to work,” parents can be at home and conduct business in their free time, while still being available to their kids.
On the other hand, living “constantly connected” as many of us do can result in less quality time with one’s kids. While parents may physically be in a room, often their attention is elsewhere. In one tragic case, a 13-month old boy died in the bathtub while his mom was distracted playing games on Facebook. While this an extreme case, more parents are continuously pulled away by their ringing phone or the latest posts on Facebook or Twitter, resulting in less attention to their kids.
How do we find this balance of introducing children to the benefits of new technology, while maintaining and harnessing the power of direct human contact that no technology can replace? As a half-time single dad and social media professional, this is a huge challenge for me. Here’s my take.
- Share in the Game: “Dad, check this out!”
- Schedule Uninterrupted Time: “Mom, can you ever just focus on me?”
- Unplug Before Bed: “Dad, why are we both so tired?”
- Start a Shared Technology Project: “Mom, let’s do something together!”