This Tool Has Been A Game-Changer For Parents – But Is It Really For The Best?

A great deal of research has been done on modern parenting.

And, of course, one tool used by nearly every parent these days has been perhaps the biggest game-changer in how we raise our children.

In this digital age, the internet has become a major part of our everyday lives, but how has this tech advancement really changed parenting from previous generations?

Every parent is likely to say that Google, social media, message boards, and other digital tools have helped us with a parenting problem at one time or another.

Does the baby have a strange rash?  Is there cause for concern when the three-year-old shows absolutely no interest in potty training?

Medical advice and tips on how to handle everyday parenting questions can be a great help to parents.  We learn we are not alone with our questions, and we may find some relief from our anxiety with a sick child in the middle of the night.

But in many ways, the internet has changed how we parent as compared to our parents and grandparents – and it is not always in a positive way.

Gone are the days where we trust our instincts.  Now, we seem to follow what we see every other parent doing on social media because we think the collective mind online must be right.

We may even go against our gut feeling about how to handle something with our children because online “peer pressure” from other parents gets the better of us.

And sometimes this even means contradicting what we have learned from the wiser generations that came before us simply because we believe what we read online is infallible.

Fatherly reported on the comments of some parents who feel that relying on the internet for parenting help is more a curse than a blessing:

“Some wives’ tales are actually very effective,” [one] says. “I think we lose that with Google. And a bond is created between generations. Those were bonding moments.

They simply used the tools and knowledge they had at their disposal and did the best they could. Today, “parents tend to feel guilty or worry about everything, even though most stuff ends up being just fine in the end.”

We warn our children about the dangers of going online – of being wary of what they see and hear on social media and to make their own decisions based on their values, not what someone online claims is the right answer.

But as parents, we are often guilty of doubting ourselves because of something we see on social media or some “fact” we research on Google.

Being a parent is the oldest, and most natural, job on Earth.  Yet, we don’t hesitate to look everything up online several times a day to make sure we’re “doing it right.”

And this dependence has actually made us more anxious and stressed out as parents, according to research.

We tend to overanalyze every illness, behavioral issue, or everyday parenting question because there is simply too much information out there.

Every blog or site seems to say something different.  Millions of comments from other moms lead us to be even more confused because we are looking for someone to tell us what we should do instead of learning by experience as we go.

And studies predict that as technology – and our dependence on it – advances, the negative effects of parenting “pressure” online is only going to get worse.

We are also losing precious moments with our children.

Instead of cradling them in bed when they have a fever, we are spending hours online trying to Google the exact cause of their symptoms.

We drive ourselves crazy by reading doomsday predictions about what may be wrong when it is likely a normal and brief childhood illness.  (There’s a reason there are jokes about adults looking up their medical symptoms and thinking they have a terminal disease – we often purposely look for negative information and run with it because we’re afraid we’ll miss something important.)

And because we constantly surround ourselves with digital media, we are inundated with this negativity that feeds parental anxiety.

Yes, there are many dangers out there, and we must remain vigilant to keep our kids safe and protect our family values.

But kids (and parents) have lost much of the fun and freedom of enjoying childhood because we see everything that may – but probably won’t — go wrong.

We are also losing quality time creating real memories because we are so concerned with posting a timeline of our day.  Baby’s first steps?  We’re watching through the screen of a smartphone instead of really being present in the moment.

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Parents now are more competitive than ever, with each other and within our own minds, in order to keep up with what we see everyone else’s kids doing on Facebook.

We take the kids to the park to play and instead of running and playing catch with them, we’re “checking in” and researching the safety of the playground equipment, reading horror stories about injuries caused by hot slides and swings.

Very Well Family comments that:

In that brief moment of pause, we’re losing out on something special. We miss that natural parent and child interaction where it’s just the two of you, no sharing or likes by anyone on the outside.  We share the glossier side of life…and so does everyone else.

So what’s a modern parent to do?  Well, the same thing we tell our kids.  Limit the use of digital media.  Don’t believe everything you read.  Trust your gut – and the God-given skills and instincts that we have to raise healthy and safe children.

And be kind to yourselves, parents.  It is not an easy job, but we don’t need to Google our every question and concern about our kids.

Sometimes it is better to just sit back and take in the craziness of the day, knowing we are doing just fine.

What do you think of the constant use of Google and Facebook, and the never-ending online research we do as parents?  Do you think we’ve lost some of our natural ability to parent our children?  Leave us your thoughts.