'Wired' Dad Defends Plugged-in Parenting

Photo: Rae Whitlock via Wired via Flickr

Last week forced a lot of parents to look themselves in the face. Their shiny smartphones were the most available mirror, of course. In the New York Times‘ “The Risks of Parenting While Plugged In,” experts explained how we’re screwing our kids up and making them feel really bad by constantly refreshing our screens.

At Babble, the headline concluded that, indeed, Blackberrys make us bad parents.

Technology has  made today’s good parents nearly as bad as drunk and checked-out benign neglecters that they called “Mom” and “Dad.”

But a dad, geek and writer for Wired argues that there are benefits to parenting with technology. It’s not all that bad! Do not disconnect. Repeat: do not disconnect!

But you know what? He’s only got one really decent example — Skype. For connecting with grandparents or siblings left behind on a Dad/Big Brother trip.

And really? He doesn’t have a point. The Times piece argued we need to set limits. This Babble piece, which preceded the Times piece, highlighted the sadness of kids who have to compete not with siblings for their mother’s attention — but freaking iPhones!

We really do spend too much time online. Facebook bears sad witness to this, as pics and commentary of the kids are simulcast into status updates. Every cute quote gets shared — even when said cute quote is about mommy’s little FB-addiction.

Skype, one could argue, is face-to-face. It can encompass the kid. Phone calls and texts and Facebook and Twitter? Those exclude the little ones and they know it.

Disconnect. I repeat, disconnect!

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