Saturday, October 29, 2016

My Happiness As A Parent Depends On Tech

As you know, parenting, as a general pursuit, is about mental health – that is for the parents, at least.
How can we be nurturing and patient if we are amid a personal crisis? Indeed.

Obviously, any factor in the millions of small events in our day can impact our mood and equilibrium. But one of the main factors that has been overlooked by the mainstream parenting media is how technology failure plays out.

If I was giving a parenting seminar, the first day would be spent on how to deal with technology failures. When my email goes down, I literally can’t sleep until the issue is fixed. If my phone calendar isn’t updating, then it’s like the air raid sirens are going off and any action taken not addressing the problem is time wasted getting to the bunker.

I do my best to provide tech support for the family, and I’m almost succeeding now that Minecraft isn’t so popular. I had the great idea to let the kid install any Minecraft mod he wanted on an old PC. I have never seen any computing device so thoroughly riddled with viruses and malware. Once a friend came over and the kids downloaded something in the name of Minecraft on my Mac Pro. With that I had to take it to the shop. “Minecraft,” I explained to the pro tech guy. “I know what to do,” he said.

But besides these hiccups, the kids do tech well. As a family we embrace tech, which means we all have screens and are informed users of popular apps. This is the cultural literacy of our times.

Knowing my mental health depends on how well my tech is running has pushed me to invest in more robust systems. I regularly update the modem and router, store passwords in an encrypted on-line vault, and generally pay full price for software to get all updates and patches. 

Tech keeps getting better, this is true; but the pace of self-education about how to integrate all the devices and systems never slackens.

People do all kinds of things for mental health, vacations, exercise, therapy sessions. I now need to add becoming more expert on appropriate tech to the list. 


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