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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

The Wonderful World of the Digital Daddy



Cory Treffiletti, president and managing partner at Catalyst:SF, has become a Dad... and it's changing how he looks at the Web!

I have officially entered a new phase of my life: the Daddy-phase (and I love it)! I am no longer in the core 18-34 single male demo. (Actually a couple of years past, as evidenced by the growing volume of grey hairs on my head.) Instead, I'm now part of a family household with "1+" children and I've discovered it makes an amazing difference on how you view the Web!

First off, the Web has transitioned from a purely personal entertainment and work-related information source to a babysitting tool. When I run out of things to do with my 5-month-old boy, I find myself moving to the Web to occupy his attention. There are hosts of videos and websites at the touch of a mouse click to help me teach him the basics. The only frustration that I've encountered is how hard it is to find the old cartoons I loved as a kid. Are they no longer cool? Do I need to just move on and watch the new classics like Hip Hop Harry and the gang from Toy Story?

I also find myself thinking that the Web is full of content that's not-so-safe for my little boy's innocent ears and eyes. I started to research all of the tools for censoring and managing what he sees online. Did you know how many special browsers and plug-ins and applications there are for creating a safe-web environment for your child?

I feel there's a whole new world of technology and gadgets which I need to understand, but I also feel as though there's a world of scams out there designed to suck the money from my wallet. There are courses and books and programs to register for -- and all of them cost money! As if raising a kid wasn't costly enough, now there's a whole economy built around scaring me into paying more!

The Web has also become a social education tool for me, far beyond that of any parenting group or medical resource that my parents might have had at their disposal. Why read a book when I can get what I need from the Web in less than 5 minutes! Is that rash on his leg normal? Is it unusual for my kid to want to put everything in his mouth and then make himself gag? If my kid sits in the car seat and falls asleep with his head in an awkward position, will it fall off?!

All of these are apparently standard questions, because a Google search returns answers for every question I ask, word-for-word! At the very least, the Web helps me understand that I'm not alone and that my stupid questions are not really that stupid after all!

Being a father has quickly become my favorite hobby and the Web has become an invaluable resource to help me make the most of these days and weeks and months. Of course, the web will also help me come up with ten new business ideas before my son is one -year-old; maybe I sense my son's future nest-egg in the making!

This article originally appeared on MediaPost.



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