The world today is filled with technology. From digital assistants like Alexa and Siri to cars with GPS and refrigerators that can put items on your shopping list, technology is here to stay.

Your kids need to understand this new world they’re growing up in. It’s up to you to model and teach them what a healthy balance of tech and non-tech time looks like.

  • Do you consciously unplug from your phone sometimes? Take a mini-break from online distractions? Impose a social media cleanse?
  • Do you put down your phone when you’re talking to someone face to face?
  • Do you challenge yourself to pick up your phone “on purpose” (with a goal in mind) instead of habitually, just to see what’s new?

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Let’s celebrate all the good things that technology can do for families.

Here’s the briefest of lists for how tech helps my family:

  • Hearing. Actual access to sound. Two of my kids can hear because they wear hearing aids and cochlear implants. And the technology is so amazing that they can stream music from ipods to their hearing devices. No earbuds needed!
  • Keeping in touch with family through video chat apps
  • Making music with “sick beats” (their words, not mine) with Music Maker Jam
  • Playing music, setting alarms, making a grocery list, learning jokes with Alexa
  • Finding new recipes
  • Getting to playdates and new locations with GPS
  • Sharing photos
  • Limiting screen time with an app
  • Seeing what my kids are exposed to online with an app
  • Creating a packing list for trips–one that’s visual for little non-readers and text for bigger kids
  • Learning how to fix stuff on YouTube

Recently I asked a group of parents for their input: “What are some ways you see technology as a benefit to your family? How do you see your kids using the internet as a tool to learn, connect and explore?”

Here are some responses from other parents like you:

  • My kid loves track and field. We watch YouTube videos about technique so he can learn more and he watches the great Olympians of the past compete in his favorite events!
  • My son has watched YouTube videos on drawing to broaden his art/drawing skills. A lot of times when he asks to play a game or watch a video and I say no, but I rarely say no to art tutorials.
  • I love our shared shopping list so we can all add things. Whoever is out that day can pick up what we need.
  • My daughter would love to take gymnastics, but our schedule makes it hard. She watches gymnastics tutorial videos on YouTube and now considers herself a “self-taught gymnast”. I think there is a big difference between mindless consumption of tech and using it as a tool, right?
  • My son became interested in National Novel Writing Month (every November there is a challenge to encourage youth to start and finish a novel)  and that year, he wrote a 5,000 word story in a month.
  • My daughter makes me power point presentations to explain the lessons she’s learned. She has a great time selecting background colors and fonts, then looking up pictures and quotes to add.
  • My son built his own gaming PC by watching YouTube videos. He did it 100% on his own and it works great, too!
  • My husband figured out how to replace the battery in my car’s key fob (it wasn’t easy!) by watching a video on YouTube.
  • Duolingo is pretty cool for learning languages.
  • My 11yo uses Alexa to set her own alarm, check the weather to choose appropriate clothing, play motivational music… She gets herself up and out the door with no parental assistance in the morning.
  • I love the Rooster Money App for helping manage allowance and chores. It lets the kids set goals to save up for things. I manage it from my phone, but all the kids have access to it from their phones as well and create  different goals for their money. 
  • We use Dreambox and Khan Academy to improve math skills over the summer. 
  • My kids voice-to-text their class speeches into the notes section of their phone. They are able to cut and past quotes they find and edit the speeches completely on the phone.
  • My son uses YouTube to learn new piano pieces. 
  • My boys are making a PowerPoint that focuses on the recycling abilities in our local community. Do’s and Dont’s along with local specifics.
  • Technology has flung open the doors for education on so many levels! The best yet is my daughter’s driver’s ed that she does on her phone….it’s fabulous!

“Technology is best when it brings people together.”

Matt Mullenweg

  • I am Scottish living in the US – without technology, my kids wouldn’t be able to keep in touch easily with their entire extended family! It’s comforting to know that my family members are just a text, call or Facetime away.
  • I use inspirational videos to teach my son about different life lessons.
  • I use FaceTime to have my students practice reading with relatives that live far away.
  • I love that my kids are my friends on social media–we crack each other up!  
  • The photos we take are great memories to be shared –  every family camping trip results in a pic collage that gets printed and shared.
  • Playground Buddy app has been an amazing resource for finding new outdoor spaces to enjoy.
  • My daughter sends her daddy the sweetest little text messages. I love texting her little words of encouragement or scripture. 
  • My eldest (now 21) is rather shy. We’ve had some great conversation via text about deep topics when he was too shy to talk face to face.

What are your thoughts? How has technology improved your family’s life?

Comment below and share!

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