We live in a world where information is always at our fingertips and everything is as easy as pressing a button. Gone are the days of spending hours agonizing over the name of an actor; of having to wait until the evening news for the weather report; of trying out a new product without reading a review. We want to know everything, and we want to know it right away.
The parenting world is no different. Parents want to know exactly what is going on with their kids at all times and want to keep up with the newest gadgets that will help them be better parents. In this tech-savvy era, there seems to be no limit to the lengths we will go to in order to make our lives a little easier, while keeping our children safe and secure.
Take Rest Devices' newest parent-friendly product, Mimo, the smart baby monitor (released February 2014).
Mimo is not your mother's baby monitor. It may very well be the most high-tech baby monitor currently on the market. The Starter Kit comes with three Kimonos (See: fancy onesie with non-contact sensors that monitor breathing), as well as the Lilypad and Turtle. The Lilypad and Turtle attach to the Kimono and connect, safely, to your WiFi and monitor your baby's breathing, skin temperature, body position and activity level. All of this information is downloaded for your perusal via the Smartphone app. The Lilypad also features a microphone, which allows Mimo to function as a run-of-the-mill baby monitor, streaming your baby's sounds in real time.
It seems like a great idea; you can rest assured that your baby is breathing, isn't too hot and you can even track how long they sleep each night. And while knowing that your baby is breathing is obviously a comfort, what are parents supposed to do with all this information? Most likely, parents will be eternally stuck to our phones, agonizing over a small temperature increase or baby sleeping on his side.
Don't get us wrong, Mimo is an inventive, interesting product that has been thoroughly tested for safety concerns and seems to have a place in the parenting world. Clearly, it is filling a need, as the first preorder has already sold out. But it is indicative of a bigger issue.
These technological innovations are making it impossible to ever stop parenting. With real-time updates, disconnecting from your parental obligations, even for a short time, becomes a struggle. And let's be honest, everyone needs a little "me" time, especially busy moms and dads.
Babies, toddlers and kids of all ages are already swamped with technology; kids as young as four are supposedly being treated for iPad addiction. Perhaps it is time to put down our baby-related technology, take a step back and take in the joys of parenting. While we're at it, we should probably give our kids a chance to enjoy being kids.
This is not to say that technology doesn't have a place and time for both parents and children. There are many kid-friendly apps and games that can be great learning tools for toddlers and kids. But it is also important to build in some time away from your phone, tablet, laptop and screens, in general. Play a board game with your family, go outside for a bike ride or bake cookies together.
Whether it is a car seat that monitors your baby's temperature, a stroller that will charge your phone or a one-step formula preparation machine, it may be time to trade in FaceTime for some actual face time with our families.
Written by Marianne Litman for BabyPost.com
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Source: Pew Research Center Gist: "Fully 95% of teens are online, a percentage that has been consistent since 2006. Yet, the nature of teens’ internet use has transformed dramatically during that time ... Teens are just as likely to have a cell phone as they are to have a desktop or laptop computer. And increasingly these phones are affording teens always-on, mobile access to the internet — in some cases, serving as their primary point of access."
Preschoolers Can Learn Great Things From TV" width="52" height="52"/>
Source: Huffington Post (to read the actual study, visit Pediatrics -- subscription required) Gist: "New research out today by Dr Christakis finds that putting our time and energy into working to improve what our children watch, not just how much they watch, can have a positive impact on their behavior -- even for children as young as 3 years of age."
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Source: Common Sense Media Gist: "While longitudinal research does allow us to speak in terms of a 'causal' relationship, it is probably more accurate and useful to think about media violence as a 'risk factor' rather than a 'cause' of violence — one variable among many that increases the risk of violent behavior among some children."
Source: Reuters (to read the actual study, visit JAMA Pediatrics -- log-in required) Gist: "[R]esearchers said the new study backs up earlier findings showing too much screen time and not enough exercise may be separate issues that parents and schools need to address independently."
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Source: Facebook Gist: "We investigated anonymized and automatically processed posts and comments by people self-identified as parents and children to understand how conversation patterns with each other might be a bit different from those with their other friends."
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Source: C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health Gist: "In this Poll, nearly two out of three adults expressed strong support for proposed COPPA updates, including requiring apps designed for kids to confirm that users are at least 13 and prohibiting apps from collecting personal information from users under age 13."
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Source: Family Online Safety Institute Gist: "These surveys indicate that teens’ concerns about their online safety parallel parents’ concerns more closely than parents realize and that many teens are taking steps to protect their privacy and personal information. Nonetheless, teens suggest that parents are not as informed about what their teens do online as parents think they are, and some teens are taking risks by providing personal information to strangers online."
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Source: Pew Research Center Gist: “As social media use has become pervasive in the lives of American teens, a new study finds that 69% of the teenagers who use social networking sites say their peers are mostly kind to one another on such sites. Still, 88% of these teens say they have witnessed people being mean and cruel to another person on the sites, and 15% report that they have been the target of mean or cruel behavior on social network sites.”
Preschool-Aged Children’s Television Viewing in Child Care Settings " width="52" height="52"/>
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Media Use by Children Younger Than 2 Years" width="52" height="52"/>
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