Not long ago I met Jessie, a mother who spoke to me about how technology changed her life as a parent. She jokingly told me that what the Rubik’s cube was to her generation, the internet is to today’s. We are all aware of the great challenges technology presents, but for today I wish to focus on the advantages and opportunities that previous generations dreamt of having.
The internet, for one thing, has resulted in an incredible amount of information. Do you have a question about breastfeeding, or how to discipline your child or how much time your child should spend on the tablet? Just Google it! With a bit of skill and experience most users can tread through the overload of information and hand pick something useful. Technology can also be a unique tool that brings families together. I will never forget when our family bought the Wii-Fit a few years ago. The number of hours we spent together in front of this game joking, laughing and having fun was unforgettable.
The next few weeks leading up to Christmas can be a demanding time for parents due to the amount of parties and events your child is invited to. Not to mention the family events, buying presents, catching up with friends and so on. As tablets, iPads, smart phones and other fancy presents are wrapped in time for Christmas, it could be easy to lose sight of what, in my view, should be at the centre of this holiday – family.
The message that often is given by ibrowsesafely is to spend time with your children, in particular do not shy away from sharing experiences using technology. Although these devices are most often used by one person alone, our advice is that parents should take this time to use technology to get closer to their children and be part of their world.
It is no secret that most children today connect with technology with greater ease than their parents. Therefore it is up to the grown ups in the equation to make the effort and find ways of bridging the gap by using and embracing technology rather than trying to keep it at bay.
There are a number of ways they can do this. One is through playing family-friendly multiplayer games. You can watch a movie together at Christmas time, which seems to be a common tradition in a lot of families, and platforms such as Kodi can help access any movie, at any time. You can use the internet for educational purposes.
Another way to share experiences with your child during Christmas is to explore the internet for fun websites. For instance you can create a personalised video from Father Christmas at the Portable North Pole website. You can also create a funny video of your family and friends as dancing elves on Elf Yourself!
Our Christmas message for you is that the use of devices doesn’t not have to be divisive – if used the right way technology can be inclusive and bring people together which we at ibrowsesafely think is a key element in the true spirit of this festive season.
Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones from all of us at the Vodafone Malta Foundation!