“Daddy, just Google it on your phone!”

Technology.  It invades our world in every possible way.  Some applications are a welcome addition our ever-evolving, increasingly non-verbal, staring-at-our-phones way of live.  Instant weather forecasts?  Much better than calling the time and temperature phone number (and if you remember that number, you were definitely born before 1980).  Real-time fantasy football scores?  One of the best innovations of the 21st century.

Earlier this week I received an email from my kids’ school district to announce a new mobile application.  This one displays the school bus on a map, showing where it is and updating the scheduled drop-off or pick-up time every 1 to 2 minutes.  On the surface it might sound pretty cool, watch the little bus logo on our phones while we are huddled with the other parents at the bus stop (or idling in our cars) so we know exactly when the bus will arrive.


Seriously, do we really need this?  The buses are nearly always there within a few minutes of the scheduled time.  And what if they are running late one day?  I don’t know what’s worse:  whether the district decided to spend money and time on this or whether there was enough demand from parents to search for a solution.  It’s absolutely OK to have unknowns and uncertainty in life.  Isn’t that how we learn how to deal with adversity in a nutshell?  I know, it’s only a bus app…big deal.  But think about this as you extrapolate the possibilities of technology and how it relates to your kids, school, and your parenting obligations to raise a well-rounded child.

Why not have an app that sends pictures of your kid’s schoolwork as they are graded?  Or what about a recess-webcam so you can see if Billy is playing with that neighbor kid who you think is a bad influence?  Wouldn’t it be cool to see what Madison purchased in the lunch line in real time and block her access to purchasing snack foods for the remainder of the week?  No, no and NO.

Parenting is reviewing your child’s homework when she brings it home.  Parenting is asking about your kids’ friends at the dinner table and teaching them about positive and negative influences from their peers.  Parenting is allowing them to make smart decisions on their own, not because you can check up on them.

Parenting is about preparing your kids for real life, for the unknowns and for the unexpected.  We all survived just fine without smartphones and in some cases are better off for it.  I fear sometimes for our children with their dependence on technology and learned behavior of retrieving information on demand.  So maybe the next time your son or daughter has a question about something and asks you to Google it on your phone, you can respond, “Figure it out on your own.”

1 thought on ““Daddy, just Google it on your phone!”

  1. Half of dads are tracking buses and micromanaging their over-scheduled kids to the nanosecond, and the other half have barely met their kids. Both present challenges that technology won’t solve.

    Accountability, discipline and tenacity… we need an app for that.

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