Here’s my reality: Technology doesn’t just have an influence on my parenting style. It is key tomy parenting style.
In a few significant ways, it’s enabled me to be a better father and friend to my kids, particularly now that they’ve left the nest.
Off the top of my head, I know how much data my grown children use each billing cycle. I can tell you the exact year my daughter became a power texter and cracked 10,000 messages per month.
Am I using my powers as a dad to snoop? Not really.
Am I a helicopter parent? Nope.
Am I raising my kids in the age of technology? Absolutely.
Always Connected, Never Intrusive
My son is 22, and my daughter is 19. They grew up with phones and social media. They are fearless about technology. They are also full-fledged millennials living away from parents in their own habitat.
You may hear me say, “Everything you’ve heard about millennials is true,” in one breath. Then, “Everything you’ve heard about them is unfounded,” in the next.
They are walking contradictions.
We’ve monitored their behavior. We’ve learned how they communicate. And we’ve adapted our style of parenting to match their needs.
Take my son. The tech world would consider him an old soul. He’s not necessarily glued to his device, though he’s on social and watches a ton of video. But it’s not his breathing lifeline.
I can still parent from a distance by text, sending links and videos, and giving him pointers in real time. And maybe more important to him... I can add to his bank account in real time. I’ve found a way to help him learn, and give quick feedback, advice, etc. without doing it for him.
On the other hand, my daughter is not just connected – she’s borderline addicted to her phone. And we’ve learned that’s a good thing. Being a few hours away in college, it’s natural for us to worry. But she checks in, texts, and lets us know what she’s up to. My wife and I have found the right balance of letting her find her own way and make decisions while staying connected to us.
It’s a delicate balance, and one that’s constantly changing as technology evolves.
Growing up with technology at their fingertips has let my kids do a bit of parenting themselves. From Snapchat to video messenger apps, they’ve brought more technology home than I have. Hence, they’ve taught me more than a thing or two along the way.
The most important thing I’ve learned from my children is to never stop learning.
Our kids were immersed in technology from the moment they were born. They understand it in ways we simply cannot. Learning to listen to what’s going on in their lives has made me a better father as well as a better leader.
Overall, parenting with technology has brought, and kept, my family closer. We’ve created memories via FaceTime and text messages.
And to think, it simply wouldn’t be possible without the great strides we’re making at AT&T to help strengthen the world’s connections.
Wishing every dad a happy Father’s Day – I hope you receive many well wishes via text, email, Facebook, Snapchat, video chat… or any other way your kids choose to connect!
Glenn Lurie, President & CEO – Mobility and Consumer Operations, is based in Atlanta, GA.