5 technologies parents need to know about today

5 technologies that parents need to know today as their child will be using in the next 5 years

Today is Safer Internet Day, which is as good a day as any to scrub up on your knowledge of technologies and how they might impact your child. This is the start of a series of blog posts about the internet and technology prior to the release of my book The Parent’s Guide to the Modern World.

Technology is changing fast, just look at the development of mobile phones over the past ten years, from just answering calls and texts to the ability to sync with watches.

The way we parent children is having to change as a result.  So many children are spending increasing amounts of time plugged into a screen in some way.  They’re spending less time out with their friends and more time connecting through the internet.  This is great, but at the same time are you always sure you know what they’re exposed to?

In the last few years I have worked with children who are able to hack websites, 6 years olds who have opinions about porn websites, teenagers who learn to self-harm from blogs just as you or I watch a video on YouTube to learn how to fix things.  The internet is a scary place, so here are 5 technologies you should know about that could affect your child.

Brain controlled toys

This is already commercially available, for less than £100 you can buy a remote controlled helicopter that is flown by brain waves.  By wearing a headset and focussing their mind on one thing, users are able to control the movement of the helicopter.  Expected to develop into other areas we are very likely to see more and more toys and gadgets becoming available.  All of these technologies will rely on the brain’s ability to be calm and focus on something, these are skills that we learn from the first few weeks we are born and throughout the first few years of our childhood.

VR helmets

For as little as £10.25 + P&P you can buy a Virtual Reality headset that plugs into your phone.  Video games and other experiences are now being planned for VR.  Quite what this will mean for parents is not known at the moment, if it compares to the video game phenomenon we have seen over the past ten years, then expect to see children and teens wanting to live their lives in their rooms with a headset on.  Just the same as with screen time, set the expectations early for how long your children should spend on them.

Robotics

Over the last 10 years there have been huge advancements in the field of robotics, to the point that it is conceivable that by the time your child grows up (or within their lifetime), if a job can be done by a robot then it will be.  Whilst this may be a fantastic achievement, it means that the way your child can make their living will be limited.  To put it simply, if they grow up and expect to get a simple job then forget it, they need to be in the position to grow up and earn their living doing something robots can’t do.

Interactive glassware

Imagine glassware that lets you control household appliances with your eyes, or search the internet to look something up.  Potentially you could even play games or make purchases just with your eyes!  The technology exists and over time the price will come down to mean that these can be worn in households everywhere.  This potentially means there will be even less reason to come out of their bedroom or even move off the sofa.  Parents need to be open to discussing the use of technology to ease their daily lives, but at the same time respecting the need to be an active part of the social family.

The dark web

This is the hidden part of the World Wide Web, not publically available without secure connections, there have already been cases discussed in the news about how it can be used for drugs, weapons, pornography, fraud and hacking.  Finer details of what you can find on there is hard to establish, but it is important that parents educate their children about, just as they should do about publically available pornography.

 

Richard’s new books The Parent’s Guide to the Modern World and The Young Person’s Guide to the Modern World are due to be published by Clink Publishing in March, to get notification of when they are released, please enter your details below:

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