It seems impossible to think of an everyday life without the technological assistance most of us have become addicted to. Technology has invaded our lives in such a way that living without it seems going back to primordial time when Adam and Eve were relishing the unblemished ecstasies of the east of Eden. In other words, it is living a cloistered life finding it difficult to keep track of what is happening around. In our concrete jungle, technologies are our guiding stars. The apple of technology brought with it knowledge and awareness but at a price. In a world that is increasingly becoming hectic and busy, more technology and apps are seemingly putting our lives at a comfortable ease.
We have all sorts of apps for assisting us with all sorts of things, from booking flights to paying bills to calling the cab. And now with the latest addition of parenting apps, working parents can breathe a sigh of relief knowing they can monitor and watch over each and every moments of their kids while they are away at work. These apps are making us ask some crucial questions: How dependent are we on modern technology? How is it shaping and limiting our growth?
App developers are expanding the possibilities of their craft into areas that are blurring the divide between technology and humankind. Invading every aspect of private lives, apps are taking on a novel persona of intimacy. With worried parents finding it difficult to bring up a child in a busy society, technology is providing solace and assistance. With parenting apps like “mytoddlr” and “cry translator” parents can, with the assistance of internet, monitor and understand the growth of their children. Mytoddlr gives the distinct service of tracking their kids’ every activity in the nursery from naps to potty breaks. Developers of the app feel it will put parents at ease; to them, they can keep a track of their children’s activities while they are at the nursery of crèche. The cry translator, developed by National Taiwan University Hospital Yunlin, tries to analyze why a baby is crying, by analyzing its pattern of crying from having compiled and studied over 200,000 recordings of infants crying. This supposedly lets the parents know why their baby is crying- for a diaper change or for food. The app “My Child” developed by 19 year old tech entrepreneur Harsh Songra, tracks the development of the child since its infancy which helps in diagnosing any potential health problems.
Although these apps seems to offer their users an advanced level of parenting techniques, the excessive dependence on technology to even understand the basic needs of the children have restricted the intimate relationship of understanding, nurturing and care, between the parents and children that no amount of technology can replace. To further aggravate the situation, the tendency to monitor your kids’ every movement seems to follow an unhealthy pattern to control them. Also, there is the high risk of these apps wrongly “diagnosing” the children based on their recorded growth profile. Many paranoid parents in the west, especially in the United States, frequently take their introverted children to therapies and counseling, looking upon introversion not as a normal, expected mental state but rather as a social illness which must be “cured”. The moment such cases are recognized as a “treatable” or “curable” psychological problem, the market will be filled endorsing the medications which can damage the children.
These parenting apps have increasing demand and popularity amongst the advanced industrial countries in the west. The success of these apps is symptomatic of the increasingly detached, alienating lives we live. The significance of community with their traditional role of bringing up and taking care of children collectively are waning. The grandparents and the relatives and the neighbors are being replaced by technology and apps to assist in parenting. What sort of individuals will these children of modern technology become in the future?
Leaving the nature part out of nurturing and depending immoderately on technology for understanding and “monitoring” the growth of your children can have less than healthy consequences in the future. What such paranoid parents who depend and use much of these apps need to understand is that, having children and child rearing are not recent phenomenon. It was the collective responsibility of an entire community to make sure children grew up fine. Give nature also a chance!