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High-Tech Parenting
It’s worth embracing the new technologies even if it’s just for staying in touch with your kids.

Often, I reminisce about my school days sitting in front of an old-fashioned typewriter to complete assignments. There was satisfaction in hearing the keys strike the paper and watching the blank page fill with words. When I was finished, I could roll out my work and hold the finished product in my hands. Printer not required!

No power surge could blank the screen and delete hours of work. If I typed the wrong key, all I needed was an ink eraser or whiteout to undo the damage.

Working on the typewriter also meant I could focus on one task at a time. Now, with a computer, I can access multiple web pages, e-mail accounts and documents simultaneously. But while I find e-mail a useful tool to stay in touch with friends and colleagues, it also means more than one person can get in touch with me.

That includes my children. As a mom, the world of high-tech communication has become unavoidable. Like it or not, my three teenagers have dragged me into it.

Developing strength

But high-tech parenting isn’t all headaches. In fact, it can be a tremendous opportunity for me to participate in the routine events of my children’s lives.

…they also know that if they need me, they can reach me.

When I’m at the office, it’s a convenient way for me to referee their disputes in real time, especially where television, computer or videogame times are involved.

I can also give my daughter on-the-spot feedback on her research paper even though she is at the library. When my son texts me to know if he can stay late at a friend’s, I can gently remind him that he has band practice scheduled that afternoon. Or when my other son is having a challenging day at school, I can let him know I’m proud of the decisions he’s making.

Of course, there have to be boundaries in place. My children know that when I’m at the office, I need to focus on my work. But they also know that if they need me, they can reach me. And for the brief moment it takes to read an e-mail or text message, they are inviting me to be part of their day. That’s something to be grateful for.

Our children encounter temptations on a daily basis. Just the ads that pop up while I’m on the Internet are enough to make me blush. When I think of what my kids are inundated with, I shudder.

Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 10:16-17: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard.” Given the “wolves” that are waiting to devour our children, it seems that the shrewd thing to do is to embrace high-tech.

As a parent, I can’t shield my children from every harmful influence, but the more I can be with them—in person or in cyberspace—the more I can help them develop the strength of character they need to face the world.

Originally published in Faith & Friends, September, 2008.




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