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Technology has made so many aspects of life much easier and that includes parenting. With a few gadgets, internet websites and applications, parenting is no longer as hard as it seemed before however, it would be fair to acknowledge that there is another side of the coin that isn’t as rosy as technology comes with some challenges of its own. Let’s explore some of the positive developments.
“Hush little baby”
In terms of “baby” gadgets, there are now gadgets like the baby cry analyzer that can help determine why your baby is crying. This baby cry analyzer gauges cry intensity, impact and interval to determine the cause of your baby’s discomfort. Then I also came across a device called Snoo, a smart sleeper, that combines motion and sound that automatically adjusts to the intensity of your child’s cries and lulls him back to sleep. Then did you know about the White Noise app (for iOS) that can put babies to sleep faster than your boring lullabies? Last but definitely not least in the baby department is the wireless Breast Pump and this is innovation for breastfeeding moms means no longer being relegated to the couch for hours a day. The pump gives breastfeeding moms more free time and the use of their hands, while still pumping milk for the little one.
In terms of appliances, a blender is quite a useful one and it helps in blending ingredients into fresh baby food. The machine can steam and puree fruits, vegetables and meat in minutes. Then there’s one am personally very curious about and this is the Roomba vacuum that can take care of cleaning the floors while you take care of the kids when they get the house messy. This is a smart robot that makes sure to clean one room before continuing on to other rooms, so your home is sure to be spotless. As for protecting your phone, there are now a variety of different waterproof cases that keep your gadgets safe from any harm your little troublemakers can cause. There are also tubs that now come with a thermometer to determine the right temperature for the water as you bathe your little one.
For mothers anxious about leaving their kids or babies in the hands of caregivers, there are now apps that can ease that anxiety where caregivers log information about feedings, naps, diapers, and more, and parents receive push notifications on their phones.
For parents with grown children, there is GPS phone tracking to keep up with their whereabouts or Internet monitoring. In some countries, no longer do parents have to worry about naughty kids who do not bring their report cards home. Now it’s possible for parents to log on and see all of what’s happening with their kids’ school assignments, and that’s from kindergarten up through high school.
Apps, apps and more apps
Now let’s explore the world of applications and the internet. Social support is very important especially for first-time parents with postpartum depression being a widespread phenomenon for new moms. This can be avoided by spending time with other parents who can relate to what you’re going through and give some invaluable advice in terms of aspects of parenting you may be struggling with. There are now applications and websites to help parents with such social groups or even find events suitable for families or children when they want to spend time out. The internet alone has helped parents with answers to many questions about how to handle their babies or parenting in general. The internet has also made grocery shopping easier with online stores and quick home deliveries (though this is yet to actually bloom in Zimbabwe).
Dealing with societal issues using tech…
The waiting and the pressure from family members can lead to feelings of frustration, confusion, and resentment in marriages that are childless and often women suffer the most. However, we now have Assisted Reproductive. This includes all fertility treatments in which both eggs and embryos are handled. In general, ART procedures involve surgically removing eggs from a woman’s ovaries, combining them with sperm in the laboratory, and returning them to the woman’s body or donating them to another woman. This technology has greatly assisted many couples having difficulties when trying to have children though it was definitely a pinch for their pockets.
It’s not all rosy
As much as we can celebrate technology we have to acknowledge the challenges that have come with it especially the internet (gadgets are only likely to be expensive and out of reach for some of us). To begin with, the internet has come with “snapshot parenting” which is the cyclical tendency to share publicly only the rosy sides of parenting, leading to the romanticism of parenthood, competitiveness and pressure on parents to be “perfect”. Social media has also meant parents being bombarded with information from all directions and it is a challenge to sift through the overwhelming amount of information to find what is really helpful. It’s also very easy for both parents and children to get sucked into their devices and loose valuable family time. Above all the most worrying is the rate at which some children are committing suicide after being bullied relentlessly online.
Altogether technology can be what we call a double-edged sword. There is need to be careful when utilizing it in easing parenthood. The best advice I can give is remember you have your real life to live so spend less time trying to impress other people through social media or by buying expensive gadgets you may not really need. In the end, take what works best for you and your family remembering that people will always have different opinions owing to different life experiences.
Who is Karen Whitney Maturure? I am a young woman aged 26 who lives for writing (articles, research pieces, women-centred fiction and poetry) researching and development work. My life and career have been driven by a strong passion to contribute to the improvement of the position of disadvantaged people in my country and the world over. I am currently an intern at ROOTS Africa, volunteering at the Zimbabwe German Society whilst studying towards a Professional Certificate in Monitoring and Evaluation with the University of Zimbabwe. I have a strong academic grounding in human rights and project management having completed a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies at Midlands State University.
I am a qualified, dedicated and experienced development worker, with over three years’ experience in project management particularly over two years under the Zimbabwe Human Rights Fund at Hivos, the Urban Space Harare environmental project and the Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights department at the United Nations Population Fund Zimbabwe.