Have you taken a moment to reflect and collect a list of the things for which you are grateful this year? Here’s a kickstart: Imagine your life without _________________. Then, give thanks for those things.
Once you get started on your list, you may have trouble stopping simply because it’s human nature to pay more attention to life’s pain points. This means too often the good stuff of life — the stuff that makes it so sweet — quietly passes us without garnering its due applause.
One of those good things we may take for granted is technology.
As much as we naturally ferret out the potential dangers tech brings, for every one negative, we’re thankful that countless positives flood that equation. Face it. We’re plugged-in, click-happy, smartphone parents who have a lot to be grateful for — namely the way technology has revolutionized parenting.
What would life look like without the internet? How about the world minus that Smartphone? And what would our day look like without our kid tracking, fitness, social, or map apps? With technology comes opportunity; the opportunity for smarter working, living — and parenting.
10 pieces of technology that empower parenting
- The internet. Wow, where do we begin? The internet has put the world at our fingertips and given our parenting experience a million new dimensions. Just to name a few perks: Shopping, crowdsourcing, collaboration, cloud computing, innovation, communication, philanthropy, education, entertainment and the list goes on. For the infinite positives and added scope of knowledge, this has added to our life; we are beyond thankful.
- Facetime. Can’t get home for the holidays? Isn’t it amazing that we can facetime with friends and family all over the world? Don’t forget to fire up your smartphone or Skype this holiday and connect in real time with the ones you love (no texting!). Technology like this makes all the difference sometimes.
- Pinterest. Many of us will hover over the stove this week, smartphone in hand, as we follow a new, rock star recipe found on Pinterest. In just a click, Pinterest helps with any life hack imaginable making us instantly more confident as we tackle new skills alongside a community of pinners around the world.
- Tracking apps. If you’re a parent of a tween or teen tracking or location apps, have spared you more than a few grey hairs. Can’t find your child? No worries, a tracking app will keep you connected 24/7. And, we all know what happens if they turn off their location . . . phone privileges get zapped. Add to this anti-anxiety mix, the handful of apps that keep kids from texting and driving.
- Facebook. Okay, this one brings all kinds of issues — addiction, bullying, narcissism, hate speech, and the list goes on — however, let’s rest our attention the genius of Facebook for just a moment. Arguably, this pioneering social network has done more to shrink the world and amplify connectivity than any other tech tool. We’re now connected instantly to everyone from childhood friends, to new friends, to aging parents at any time of the day or night. Facebook’s influence, reach, and power, as a resource, is endless. For that, we’re taking a moment to be thankful.
- Amazon. This one site has radically changed the way we purchase and make buying decisions for our family. Amazon has saved us countless hours of travel, shopping time, and the dreaded time and cost of returns — who isn’t grateful for those helpful (verified) consumer reviews? Along with Amazon, we can now add countless grocery, restaurant delivery, meal services, and car shuttle services to our technology Thanksgiving list.
- Safeguards. Filtering and security tools come in many shapes and sizes these days. From software packages to network security built into products, the consumer’s safety and security are now at the forefront of many minds. Without intentional safeguards, it would be impossible to enjoy the power of our technology. We’re also grateful for the battalion of watchdogs, companies, and innovators committed to keeping technology and the internet a better place to be.
- EBooks. If you grew up in love with the library or running to the mailbox to see if your book of the month arrived, the avalanche of reading material now available with one click deserves its own parade. Is there anything more gratifying than seeing a young child reading a book on his or her tablet or a teenager engrossed in a reading site? Books, and the knowledge they carry, continue to shape us — now more than ever — thanks to technology. Along with books, we can celebrate the many, many free educational resources online that make learning (and helping our kids learn) so much more exciting for kids and parents.
- Wi-Fi and data. This bit of technology has revolutionized the way we work, which in turn, has dramatically impacted our families. Many parents now enjoy flexibility making the elusive work-life balance more possible than ever. The opportunities for our children in their work choices have also expanded thanks to technology.
- Google. Google has empowered parents everywhere to step into shoes that sometimes feel way too big. Can’t answer the tough ones like “How do planes stay in the sky?” or “Why can’t the government just print more money and get out of debt?” No worries! Just Google it and come off as a superhero every time. Adding to our superhero parenting skills are the amazingly informative and empowering YouTube and HowItWorks where we can become pros on any topic in a matter of minutes.
No doubt technology comes carrying a bucketful of concerns that can easily keep any parent up at night. But for this moment of reflection, it’s clear — we love our tech, we’re better for it, and this moment of applause is long overdue. Have a wonderful, rest-filled, tech-thankful holiday!