My father has been a business owner since Ferdinand Marcos was president. He knows his craft very well like the back of his hand. He has a stellar portfolio, has worked on some of the country’s most important architectural projects and has been featured on national TV once.
At home, he still leaves us notes on the fridge in case he needs to relay a message. He drives for my mom but needs help getting the parking card from the mall’s automated machine because he can’t seem to figure out which button to press. He still keeps an address book in his wallet and sends handwritten letters to our relatives abroad. No…he does not have a Facebook account!
If you ask him why he avoids updating his ways, he’ll just answer you with “I don’t need it” or “it’s too complicated”.
Fear of the unknown
My father has this hesitation to learn the unknown - perhaps due to his age, perhaps due to his stature…or maybe he simply doesn’t see the urgency to acquaint himself with the recent advances in technology. Somehow he got stuck in the 70’s and he struggles with all the new things that came out after.
Like my father, there are many parents today who struggle with technology. The pace at which our tools and gadgets have morphed over the last decade alone is just unprecedented. Mobile phone models and computer processors come out with new upgraded versions in a matter of months, leaving many less receptive older adults confused, intimidated and even overwhelmed.
For parents whose children are older adults (like mine), there really isn’t any pressure for them to keep up. My dad can actually retire anytime he likes and just enjoy his grandchildren for the rest of his life. We don’t mind adjusting to his ways.
How can these poor parents keep up with the times? Here are some tips on how you can somehow connect with today’s generation:
It doesn’t take a genius to get a grasp of what kids generally do nowadays. Just watch what they do discreetly - you’ll find out they spend copious amount of hours on their computers and mobile phones texting, calling, taking their own photos called “selfies”, watching videos on websites like YouTube, checking electronic mail or “e-mail” on sites like Yahoo Mail or Gmail, posting their thoughts and pictures on social network sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, listening to music, and researching about whatever stuff they’re interested in on search engine websites like Google.
Ask your child to teach you
Don’t be ashamed for not knowing the latest trends in technology. Even tech-savvy people don’t know everything. If you’re really interested in understanding your child’s world, ask him to teach you the basics. Request for a demo – this will actually show your young one that you find his activities interesting too, and this can be your chance to connect with him.
Read a little
It doesn’t hurt to do some research about the frequently visited websites, most downloaded music or the latest smartphone models just so you have a general knowledge of the latest technology.
Parenting techy kids
It may seem like the world today is so unfamiliar to you, but really, parenting techniques haven’t changed. It still boils down to teaching your children how to be responsible for their actions and how to lead a balanced lifestyle.
Here are some tips on how to manage techy kids:
· Set limits at home on the use of gadgets – the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids 2 years old and up spend no more than one to two hours a day max on “screen time”.
· Remind them about keeping their privacy – kids haven’t actually realized that by posting almost everything about what’s going on in their life publicly can affect your entire family’s privacy and security.
· Keep the communication lines open – this basically transcends time and technology. If your child is close to you, it’s likely he will respect and listen to your advice.
· Encourage offline socialization and playtime – many kids today are addicted to their gadgets so much so that they forget to engage in actual human interaction. Tell your teenager it’s okay to invite his friends over for meryenda at home. Challenge them to a game of basketball or badminton. If your little one still plays with toys, allow him to play with his friends outside.
Be bold and explore the unknown!