Digital parenting

24th May, 2011 will be Alexander’s first birthday, I last mentioned him on my blog about two days after his birth, since then I have been working away in the digital world which by it’s nature means you become one of the early adopters and users of all technology and social media offerings. I got to thinking about the impact of this at home and how I have used it over the last year in relation to my son.

Well let’s start with the scariest part of all, the first few days or months when you get home from the hospital. Christ it’s scary, so many questions, so much advice needed at 2,3,4 am in the morning..without the Internet I think I would have gone mad. When you are up at 4am, shattered, doubting everything you are doing the web was the most reassuring thing, not least it’s always on! You need a reminder that you are not alone in what you were going through, that is the most important thing. All those advertisers who only run search campaigns during the waking hours should rethink, it was the middle of the night I was searching as a new dad.

Facebook was the other interesting source of reassurance, all those people up late with kids or even just partying, I did more Facebook chat in the middle of the night than ever before, it makes you feel connected, not just the witching hours but when you are locked down at home, it has the capacity to make you smile a lot..

I have battered our computer with questions about parenting, reviews, advice, locations, things to do, you name it, where would we be without it? As I write this I am on a plane back from Cyprus,my son asleep on my wife after 3 hours of fighting sleep and a number of plays of the ‘nighty night’ App (I recommend it, fantastic graphics), interesting how quickly he is getting used to the iPad, he lights up when he sees it – should I worry?

My more basic mates are against all this digital. They don’t like photos going on line, status updates, they don’t like to see the babies reaching for the iPad at 2. I kind of agree on one level, on another I think this is it, this is our future as parents. Schools will all use computers, their friends will all have gadgets, communication as they get older will be electronic so what’s the point of fighting it? Do I want my son being the one kid who is restricted in this area and I don’t want to be the dad who knows nothing aout what my son is talking about, so I guess it’s a balance.

Advertisers I think do realise now the importance of digital, though perhaps not quite to the extent they should. My son will not watch TV on a schedule, listen to music he bought in HMV, he won’t pop down the library, he won’t read many papers, he probably will hardly send a letter, except of course when he buys a house with the backward solicitors! He won’t see a blackboard or read books as an adult from a shop, or at least he is unlikely to buy them there. This chap sitting next to me will be an expert user of an iPad by the time he is 4. That won’t be because I told him, but because that’s how the world will be so I think I am going to thank the web and technology for all the help it has given me in the last 12 months and enjoy using the best bits of it to educate and stimulate my son.

Drop him a line @alexanderJB (joke)

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