Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Parenting in a Technological World: Blogging and Social Networking

 I felt like it would be interesting to explore the potential benefits of technology on parenting -- leaving parenting websites out of the equation due to their obvious role in helping parents.

You know that old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”? Our world seems increasingly more hands off than it used to be, but perhaps it is all about changing with the times and adjusting. More hands off, maybe, but people are more accessible. Perhaps our “village” is enormous, perhaps our “village” can reach across the globe because of the technology we have, and perhaps we get to pick and choose who is in our “village”.
My main example will be Facebook and blogs. I use these tools as an example because they are the tools I use in my life, but as you read, think about the other devices you use and how this same principle might apply. Both Facebook and blogs (and e-mail too) open our world, and provide us with access to advice, support, and empathy if we just ask.  Note: I am not telling you to just take advice you receive from friends or family. Be prudent and careful. Take all advice with a grain of salt and double check with your doctor anything that has to do with the health and wellness of your child. Also keeping in mind that too much time on these tools can pull us further away from the good parents we want to be.

These tools give us the means in which to ask a large number of people their opinion -- to ask for advice from all sorts of people. We invite people to be our friends on Facebook and are, in essence, creating our “village”. We can (and I have been known to do so as well as have seen my friends do such) type a question into our status update on Facebook and throughout the day receive advice from those people we trust. I have a few friends who are very into organic, natural, and herbal supplements, as well as family and friends who rely on medicine and experience and so when I typed a question about my child’s sleeping habits, I was given advice across the board -- multiple things to try or not to try -- I was given options. The other benefit is that usually people leave their advice and move on. They don’t often come back and hound you for praise on their method and they can’t see if you make a face while reading their advice because something was so out of your comfort zone or parenting style.

I keep a blog of my day-to-day happenings of being a parent and I have friends who do this as well. When something frustrating happens I can vent about it in my blog and those who love and are interested in me and my child check the blog and offer support, and sometimes advice. It gives me an outlet for when days go bad, and it gives me a place to write about my accomplishments as a parent and my children’s accomplishments. It is a good way to save time by writing stories and adding pictures that your family can access and stay up-to-date on your children when they can -- and you only have to remember everyone once when you send the invitation to view your blog. I keep mine private, for safety reasons, and there are a lot of options as far as privacy goes on blogs so keep those in mind.

Our world is indeed stretching. People in England are as easy to write to as your next-door-neighbor and that means that we have easy access to all those people in our lives and their advice and experience. I feel grateful, as a parent, to have beeen able to reach out to those I care about and involve them in my child’s life and gain advice and comfort when I am struggling.

What are some ways you use technology to help you parent? Do you feel technology can help?

Posted by: Brooke

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