This week, Americans will be taking time away from their busy schedules to stop and give thanks for their many blessings. As parents today, it’s hard to think of technology as anything other than a danger. We hear so many sad, scary stories about children finding trouble online, not to mention the myriad health effects of too much screen time.
But should we be grateful for technology? There are many reasons we should be.
### Technology Connects Us
There’s a lot of talk today about how technology separates us from one another, and there is some truth to this. Families gather around the table to eat together but end up giving their gadgets more attention than they give each other. One tween recently banned cellphones from her slumber party because she was tired of her screen-addicted friends texting other people when they should be hanging out with her. With a little self-discipline, though, we can use the same technology that often serves as a disconnect to bring us closer together. Facetime, Skype, and other video chat services give us the opportunity to talk face to face with friends and loved ones in real time, no matter where they are in the world.Tip: Encourage your child to use technology to nurture a friendship or relationship with a relative.
### Technology Helps Us Be More Productive
There are so many online calendars and organizational apps available today that we have little excuse to miss an appointment, but that’s a good thing! We grown-ups have a lot more tools at our disposal to juggle the things that modern life expects from us, including work, family, and social obligations. Tweens and teens can benefit from similar tools to manage their schoolwork and extracurricular activities.Tip: Download an organizational app like Cozi to keep track of all of your family’s activities.
### Technology Teaches Us
When’s the last time you had to say “I don’t know” to one of your child’s questions? With an Internet connection and a search engine, anyone can appear to be a genius these days! More importantly, anyone can use the Web to discover and learn new things. Educational apps can do amazing things like teach children to read, help tweens with their algebra, and even allow students to earn credits and complete degree programs.Tip: Introduce your child to an educational website or app. One new one we like—DIY.org.You don’ have to be a psychic to see that technology is our future. Does it introduce dangers? Of course. Don’t dwell on the negative this Thanksgiving holiday, though. Instead, try to focus on the positive and teach your kids to do the same.Final Tip: Ask your child about the benefits and disadvantages of technology as a way to keep the conversation going about safe and responsible Web use.