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My Dad's addicted to technology – and it rocks!

By Sarah Klein

Reading the recent New York Times article The Risks of Parenting While Plugged In, you might think that any parent who reaches for an iPhone should just hand over their kids to child services right now!

But in my experience, growing up with a parent who is addicted to technology has been entirely to my benefit.

My dad is always a step ahead when it comes to technology. He was the first person to ever send me a picture text message; he's on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn; he set me up on Skype when I trekked off to Paris for a semester abroad; and he just downloaded the Vuvuzela app for his BlackBerry!

While most of my generation has had to teach their parents about technology – that's if their parents even wanted to learn – I'm not sure there's anything I could say to my dad about technology that he hasn't told me first.

When he worked in an office, we wouldn't see Dad until late in the evening but having his laptop and smartphone handy allowed us to stay in touch and make lunch dates during school and college breaks. He would take his Blackberry with him and still make it to my brother's afternoon soccer games. (The New York Times reports that kids feel hurt when Dad is on the sideline sending e-mails but I'd feel worse if he wasn't there at all!)

Later in life, many parents have found that texting, e-mail and even Facebook can be a huge help in keeping tabs on their too-cool-to-call teenagers.

Granted, most of the New York Times' concerns lie with younger children and their impressionable and developing minds. But there is a counter argument that familiarity around technology at such a young age is important for later in life.

Today's 3-year-olds will grow up in a much more technologically-advanced society that we are experiencing now, and will communicate in ways that we haven't dreamed of yet. That seems more than enough reason for parents to stay plugged in and make sure their kids are prepared for the many tech adventures to come.

Comment by Elisabeth Prial, posted 6/30/2010, 9:28 PM:

As a publisher of children's books, I always consider the parent-child interaction potential of our books as a compnent of what makes a book worth publishing. For the most part, the adults do the purchasing and the more enthusiastic they are the more positive a reading experience that the child will feel. There is a natural bridge from books to new technology when it comes to developing a child’s love of reading. As we move forward as a publisher of “books” or should we say “medai” for children, it is our belief that the more technology literate today’s adults are, the more our children will not just embrace games, but potentially enjoy the value of the content even more.
Comment by Dr. S, posted 6/28/2010, 3:44 PM:

You are so right to mention that today's 3-year-olds will benefit from a different type of parental involvement. It is hard to know, though, exactly what you like about your dad's 'addiction'.Older kids often prefer parents out of their hair, and good parents know about how far to go. Maybe your dad is one of those. On the other hand, maybe you don't know what you are missing -- some dads can be even better companions and guides when they look at you and talk to you.
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