Admittedly, nothing can truly prepare you for the mayhem that is first-time parenting, but the internet sure has plenty of tips to help prepare in every way we can imagine. From Facebook groups selling second hand baby goods, to female-only forums offering breastfeeding advice, to printable PDF lists on ‘what to pack in your hospital bag’ to online blogs dedicated to how to wean your baby onto the bottle, it seems the internet is preparing us better than our wise and experienced friends and family are able to.
There is no doubt that when a baby arrives, technology – and with it the blessed internet – will continue to help us on our journey to figuring it all out. Technology is truly changing the way we parent, from the way we entertain our children, to the way we organize their schedules, to the way we gain parenting knowledge. But the jury is hung as to whether it is actually making parentings easier or harder.
Our growing use of new technologies, software and devices are forcing parents to make tough decisions as to whether their child should have access to those technologies, how to keep them safe from cyberbullying and other dangers online, and whether or not what appears to be ‘the norm’ in parenting online is in fact realistic. By this I’m referring to the vast number of Instagram profiles dedicated to Anne Geddes-style photoshoots of adorable bubs, supermodels’ Facebook pages showing off their perfect post-natal bodies, and every blog written by Mums who appear to be nailing it. Seeing these kinds of ‘realities’ on social media can be seriously disheartening for first-time Mums who are struggling in the initial months of parenthood, leading them to question whether they are doing it right.
On the other hand, technology can be a godsend for new parents. There are now apps that allow exhausted parents to bulk order essential household groceries like toilet paper and nappies or browse kids’ clothing such as Bobo Choses direct from a smartphone, high-tech cribs that use sound and motion lull babies back to sleep if they cry during the night and wireless breast pumps that allow mums to pump on the go, hands-free. New technology is now also engrained into early childhood curriculums, from smartphones to computers. Technology is helping parents streamline and automate tasks that would once take up precious hours – hours that would not generally be found due to the otherwise overwhelming task of keeping a new human alive.
Technology is upending every aspect of society. In the field of education, students are able to tap into hundreds of thousands of online courses, from data science masters programs to post-grad certificates in AI and blockchain, from wherever they are located in the world with the click of a mouse. In the workplace, we have seen the rise of new collaboration technologies that allow global business relationships to develop virtually. And in the home, we have seen the invention of thousands of modern devices that change the way we manage our household budgets, secure our properties, and even make love in the bedroom.
What is next, I wonder?