Technology is bringing us closer. Technology is tearing us apart. We’re just a text away. We never talk to each other face to face anymore. Smartphones allow you to keep better track of your kids. Smartphones make you overbearing and controling when it comes to your kids.
To say that opinions vary would be a gross understatement. On one hand, our favorite gadgets are bringing us closer together and facilitating communication (how ever geographically dislocated we may be), through voice and video calls, text and picture messages and everything in-between. On the other hand, we do spend more of our face time (actual “face” time!, not Facebook related one) looking at our phone screens and scrolling through our many social media and RSS feeds.
How does this work when it comes to families? Every teenager has heard that they’re always on their cell phone, but once they actually move away from home, that becomes an advantage – that’s one way (or dozen of them, depending on how much apps you’ve got) you know you can always get in touch with your kid, wherever they might be.
Smart Phones Make Adolescents Feel Safer – And Closer To Their Parents?
A study, conducted by Sarah Khan in Barnard College, Columbia University, has actually examined the impact of technolgoy on parent-teen relationships. The researcher examined the relationship between duration of adolescents’ technology use and the relationship with their parents.
Three types of technology were considered, namely, computers, cell phones and video games. Teenagers, 63 of them (ages 14 to 18), were questioned, and while it showed that computer use did somewhat hinder the relationship, there were no significant correlations found for any of the other types of technology considered. These findings were attributed to the fact adolescents more commonly use cell phones than the internet to maintain a good relationship with their parents.
Therefore, it is possible that cell phones aid parent-teen closeness as it allows them to stay in touch when they are not together, concluded the researcher.
But this is not the only finding that has concluded “those damn phones” actually facilitate the relationship between parents and children – this is consistent with MacGill’s findings from 2007 that parents and adolescents find cell phones helpful and convenient because teens are able to communicate with their parents, let them know where they are and get advice.Adolescents say they feel safer with cell phone because they feel that they can contact their parent or get help whenever they need to, as found by Lenhart in a 2010 study.
The fact that an adolescent is always on the phone or texting at the dinner table may just be a very noticeable annoyance when parents and teens are in close proximity. However, it seems that ability to keep in touch when not in close proximity overrides this annoyance and leads to a healthier parent-teen relationship.
Hi, Mom, It’s Me!
To make the best out of this smartphone driven relationship boost in relationships, a number of apps cropped up designed specially for private communication: apps for couples, roommates, siblings… and why not moms and their kids?
HiMom.Me is an iOS App that lets you send a digital (or physical) postcard to your parents (dads allowed!). It takes only three minutes and is guaranteed to make your parents happy is a pretty strong selling point that they emphasize.
Why an app?
We recently asked ourselves, “What is the most important relationship in our lives?”
Besides our girlfriends, it’s our family especially our parents. But how often do we communicate with them? And how often do they ask us how we are doing or how often do they express their concerns for our long absence.
We ascertained that it is difficult to keep them updated because of our hectic schedules and our independent living. Consequently we often forget to stay in touch with them. We also realised that none of them were keen to use social media and we didn’t think it’s the right medium either, as we wanted to have a more thoughtful and special way to share updates and photos with them.
HiMom aims to bridge this gap in a more personal and easy way. Have you said Hi! to your parents today?