In today’s fast-paced world, parents feel a social pressure to do it all, at work and at home. “We now live in an infinite world,” says Tony Crabbe, author of the book, Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much.
“There are always more emails, meetings, things to read and ideas to follow up - and digital mobile technology means you can easily crank through a few more to-do list items at work, home or even on holiday.”
The result, he says, is feeling completely overwhelmed. Because the truth is, humans are finite, with finite energy and abilities, attempting to get through an infinite amount - which is virtually impossible.
When it comes to parenting, the juggle is even more real, which explains the results of a recent 2018 study, which found that more and more parents are relying on technology to help raise their children and make their lives easier.
How technology lends a helping hand
The study, conducted by US-based tech company, Asurion, looked at how 2 000 parents with children between the ages of three and 18, used different tech devices to help them every day.
The results showed that 76 percent of parents use smart tech devices like security cameras and video calling as an aid to help keep their children both safe and well-behaved. In fact, parents admitted to using technology nine times a week on average to help keep an eye on their children when they’re at work or away from home.
Researchers concluded that the top 5 reasons parents turn to tech are:
Ensuring their kids are safe
Connecting with their children wherever they are
Managing busy family schedules
Making their lives easier (Convenience)
Whether you rely on a smartphone app to monitor your baby’s overall health, sleep and feeding schedule; track your little one’s important milestones; set reminders for extra murals and events; or get your groceries delivered to your door, there’s a digital solution for just about anything and new apps are launching all the time.
For instance, a popular app in SA called Karri, is a mobile payment app that allows you to make quick payments for school events and fundraisers such as your child’s Cake & Candy, when you don’t have cash available.
A new level of technology
With the aim to reduce stress and help free up even more time in your busy schedule, some innovative companies are taking digital assistance one step further. Recently, Volvo Cars and Uber have unveiled a new XC90 SUV – the first production car that’s ready to integrate Uber’s unique self- driving system.
“This new technology will allow the car to be capable of driving by itself, and it’s been presented as an autonomous car that is to be used as a taxi service,” says Charmagne Mavudzi, Brand and Marketing Manager for Volvo Cars South Africa.
Additionally, Uber’s self-driving system means that specially trained Uber employees operate and oversee the car in areas designated and suitable for autonomous drive.
This announcement has sparked debate amongst parents, who question whether an autonomous taxi service would be safer for transporting children, than hiring the services of a nanny or au-pair.
Nonetheless, the technology demonstrates the future of child rearing - one that is heavily technology led, loosely dubbed the “digital nanny”.
Proceed with caution…
While many digital solutions, apps, gadgets and tools claim to help simplify your life and save you time and money, it’s important to consider the following:
Most technological devices require your personal information. Be aware of how your details are stored and used. Online privacy is important as cybercrime continues to increase.
Never replace face-to-face communication with online parenting groups. Surveys and studies have shown that people that spend more time on social media every day report feeling lonelier than those who spend less time online.
A parenting app shouldn’t replace your own parenting instinct. Always trust your gut first.
Steer clear of too much screen time. While digital devices can offer hours of entertainment for your kids, unchecked it can be damaging to your child’s overall health and well-being and contribute towards sleep and behavioural problems, headaches, vision problems and obesity.