Being the first group of people to parent the iPad generation certainly is an adventure.
On the one hand, we are amazed by their capabilities to navigate between applications, create movies, build websites and FaceTime their grandparents. On the other hand, we may feel anxious about buzzwords like 'screentime', 'game-addiction', 'distractions' and 'cyber bullying.'
Keep in mind that advances in technology have helped families in numerous ways. Here are some of our favourites:
- Communication - We can communicate quickly and easily with people around the globe via messages, email, FaceTime, FaceBook and instant messaging. In our international school setting, this is a huge benefit.
- Efficiency and Organisation - GPS has changed the nature of travel. We can find any address easily, even if we haven't been there before. We can use apps to organise our shopping list, to sell our used goods, and let's not forget do our banking.
- Learning - Now we can teach ourselves anything with the powers of YouTube, Pinterest and Google combined! Lost the rules to your board game? No problem! Need to change a tyre? Can do! Learning can be 24-7.
- Entertainment - It's only in the last few years that Netflix came into being! Developments in movie and video distribution, the gaming industry and the explosion of apps means there is a little something for everyone when it comes to entertainment.
- Medical - At the consumer end of the scale, fitness monitoring is now built into many devices, and made it easier to be aware of the need to keep exercising regularly.
We are, however, realistic about the challenges facing parents too. We have put together a resource that has information, articles, and apps around common pressure points for parents. We have tried to provide a balanced perspective around some of these key issues so that you as parents can find an approach or strategy that best fits your parenting style.
We encourage you to keep the lines of communication open with your children. Inspired by the Key Jar, we have put together a list of questions that might help you begin some conversations with your child around some of these issues. Perhaps print them both off and mix them in together?
Common Sense Media has a lot of resources around parent concerns, so that is also a great source of information.
At the end of the day, each family is different, and you need to find the right combination of solutions to challenges that works for you. We hope these resources are a step in the right direction.
Please let us know any other resources you think might be useful, and we will do our best to add them.