Recently, the National Post published an article titled The iParents: Adults face modern struggle to balance staying connected and hands-free parenting. The article explores how parents are working to balance living in a digital age (always accessible outside office hours!) while parenting with the high expectations put on us by parenting authors, the media and our mothers in law.
These articles are a great read, when they’re balanced as I feel this one was, but lately I’ve been pretty prickly over some of the posts I’ve read online and shared on Facebook that – to me – do nothing more than guilt parents for living life in a digital world.
We’re continually being judged on our parenting, right from day one in the hospital. Now, it seems it has unfolded onto the playground. We’ve all seen that mom with her nose in her phone, or eReader at the playground and raised our eyebrow at her. But you know what? I’ve been that mom. Because I’m human. And clearly not perfect.
We can all strive to be better, but I think in 2013 we need to look at ways of improving the reality of parenting while digital. Find ways to adapt, improve, and be better.
Today I did an interview with News Talk’s David Kirton, and I was asked to share my thoughts on this subject. Take a listen to the Podcast here – I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject in the comments below!
THANK you for admitting you are not perfect – because Ive been that mom too. I think its unfair to judge these parents and automatically assume they are simply checking Facebook or playing on Twitter. Who knows if that person isn’t chatting with a family member who is going through a hard time, or or making final arrangements for a birthday party or other event- or maybe that mom or dad has been with screaming – crying kids ALL day and the playground is a break for both kids and parents. Its easy to judge, but until you’ve been in that person’s shoes or know their personal circumstance- one really shouldn’t .
Great post. I’m thinking “who cares”? What’s the difference to seeing parents drinking a coffee and reading a “real” book at the park while their kids play? Do they get judged. When I was a kid, we just went to the park. Ourselves. There weren’t 50 parents vying for benches or standing beside us in the play ground helping us climb everything and holding our hands down the slides… I’m sure my mom was at home reading a book between loads of laundry! Are we supposed to judge her for not hovering over me every minute?
Now I sound judgey!
Indeed, that’s what’s puzzling to me! On the same day the article above was published, you’d find another one about helicopter parents and how we need to step back. It seems parents can’t do anything right, depending on who you ask! In the same breath as saying I’m an iParent, I’m also a helicopter parent (my son graduated to being able to ride his bike beyond our house, to around the block, to the park and back this summer which is a big deal…and he’s 9! )
Being a parent is always hard.All you can do is try your best to raise your kids to be Happy,respect others ,and be kind.The rest will work itself out!
Raise your children with love and respect, morals and values and they will become decent individuals
There is never an easy balance when trying to “stay connected” and plugging in to your home life. Every family needs to decide for themselves what is acceptable and what is not in terms of this balance. I too have my iPhone at the park and while I do my best to stay off of it and give my undivided attention to my boys, the reality is I run a business that needs my attention too. Not all clients are created equal, some won’t wait for me to be back at the studio for a response. I do make every effort to be present for my kids and I think that they recognize that. That to me is most important.
Love this post! Makes me realize I’m not the only one struggling to find a balance.
I like to use media with my liittle one. Its here and part of life and she should be exposed to that
I think its fine to sit in a park and use an iphone or e-reader or whatever as long as the kids are being watched too. Some people need to have their iphones with them due to business or maybe an elderly parent that needs them if they are not home, there is many reasons why parents carry these things with them. Its not always for fun.
I think its okay to sit at the park and read on your e-reader or iphone. I do it, I’ve seen lots of parents/caregivers do it.
technology is everywhere and sometimes it has to come with you when spending time with the kids, it may be what pays the bills.
that i find is the only way to have a few minutes to yourself
You can certainly go overboard with the technology, just as you can with so much else, but even the ‘perfect parent’ is perfect.
I love this!! I Probably spend more time on my phone and iPad than I should, but it try to do it as much as I can when my kids aren’t home or are sleeping, They deserve to have my full attention all the time and I think people get distracted too easily by technology. It’s amazing how we have come so far with technology, but I think kids and parents spend too much time on their phones iPads etc. But it is true no one os perfect but all we have to do is try to be the best parent we possibly can and make the best choices we can for our kids!
No one can judge me harder than I, myself, and I don’t even own an iPhone, or anything “i”, or any portable electronic device for that matter.
I don’t own an iphone and I , never take my ereader out of the house. Too many lovely view to look at. Maybe all electronic devices should be banned outside
Parenting is the hardest job of all! A job that we are always striving to get right and to improve upon on a daily basis! There will never be a right or wrong answer about parenting as all people are unique!
I agree and I hate judgers when they see another parent on a device!
You never know what is going on in someone else’s life until you take a walk in their shoes… So no one should be judging anyone who is likely trying their best in a complex world to parent!
Digital parenting isn’t a bad thing. My cousin’s baby is interested in everything her mommy does. She’s 2 years old and better with computers then many adults. Every time I’m around her, my jaw is on the ground with how incredible she is.
I think balancing technology with old fashioned common sense advice and care is important
Back in the day a person would have taken their book with them to the park while their kid played and explored. 🙂 A new balance has to be found for everything that technology has touched.
I don’t think articles about parenting and technology really ever achieve an solution to the problem if we choose to say there is one. In my own life, it’s a matter of a constant battle of priorities and my time with technology is usually selfish pursuits that should not usurp my time with my family.
It’s all about balancing everything. I have apps on my phone for my son to play when we need to distract him (like in the car), and I will play on my computer while he is playing on the floor in front of me
I honestly don’t see a problem with being connected via your IPhone/IPad, etc. The world today IS so technologically advanced, one NEEDS to stay up with that.
While I agree that it can get out of control these days (Do I REALLY need to follow friends via 6 social networking sites? Can’t we just call?) it is wonderful to keep on top of events, keep in touch with friends, and have access to information at the drop of a hat!
AS other posters mentioned, it can also keep kids occupied if need be!
Nothing wrong with using modern technology! Even if it’s when you are raising kids.
Great post! I don’t think there is anything wrong with staying connected while with your kids…… within reason though….. and I’m a very connected parent who’s never far from her phone, iPad or computer. I’ve seen moms with their noses buried in a book in a playground and raised my eyebrow wondering how they’re keeping track of their children. It’s like anything, too much of a good thing is often not a good thing.
I think it’s important to disconnect .. honestly, so much of our lives are spent in the “virtual” world, I think it’s important to shut that out and focus on our family, children, real life. Too many are wrapped up in the internet. That being said, I am one of those parents that take my 7 year old to the park and bring my Kobo., just as another brings her SmartPhone or laptop. I think it’s just as important to take a break from one as it is the other. I , like a few mothers at the park don’t spend every second with our noses in our electronics, but we also don’t spend every second staring at our child and watching every move they make.
I wonder if mom’s where (or are) judged for reading a book while at the playground?!
If im out alone at a store I will use my iPhone but if I am at the park with the kids, or playing with them the only thing I use it for is to take pictures 🙂 I mean sometimes I do use it for other things but mainly just pics or its in my pocket
I’ve been that Mom and to be honest I really don’t care what some people may think about me checking my phone messages or sending an email when I really need to. I’ve also been that Mom who brings a book to the park while the kids were playing, either way I’ve always kept my eyes on the kids. I mostly take a lot of pics of the kids if I do anything techy..lol
Thank you for this article its ok for us to do something we enjoy too, as moms we give so much, we should be allowed to do thing we would like to sometimes.