This post is sponsored by P&G’s Thank you, Mom campaign.
Are today’s Dads different from those of our parents’ generations? According to an interesting new parenting survey by P&G Thank You, Mom, 65% of modern day dads say they have a different parenting style than their fathers. While I agree my generation of dads has some differences from our fathers, the thing that separates us the most is that today’s dads have to raise our kids in the age of technology and social media. Our fathers never had to worry about things like Facebook, online predators, or texting while driving. How modern day dads address these challenges is going to go a long way toward defining us as fathers.
P&G’s Thank You, Mom campaign asked modern parents a lot of question related to technology and social media, including one with results that surprised me – “73% of dads say that parents of young children today have a tougher time parenting due to advances in technology and social media.” This surprised me a little because, when it comes to raising young children, I think technology and social media actually make parenting easier. The ability to communicate with other parents throughout the world, to share our experiences and ask for advice, has been tremendously valuable to me as a dad. Despite this, I can definitely see how, as Annie and James get older and begin to use technology and social media, they’re going to make parenting a whole heck of a lot harder.
Monitoring my kids’ online habits is going to be important, and that’s something almost all of today’s dads agree on (nine out of ten according to P&G’s Thank You, Mom campaign). There isn’t a clear consensus among these fathers, though, about how far that monitoring should go. Only 54% believe it should be mandatory for their child to accept their “friend request” online, and just 55% of dads have age restrictions on when their child can create a Facebook account. Personally, I lean toward being strict on both of those questions, and don’t see how so many dads can say that monitoring their kids’ online habits is important but think that it’s okay for their kids not to accept their friend requests. Are these dads trying to respect their children’s privacy online? If that’s the explanation, I don’t agree. Kids (and especially teenagers) don’t want their parents in their business, but it’s a parent’s responsibility to stay on top of their kids’ online activities no matter how much their kids don’t like it. Dads have the right to call their kids’ teachers to keep tabs on their school life, and they should have the right to keep tabs on their kids’ online lives, too.
The lack of consensus on these questions shows just how new these issues are. In another generation it will undoubtedly be much clearer how we should deal with technology and social media, but unfortunately our generation has to find these things out for ourselves. The good news is that, though social media/technology is creating these challenges, it’s also empowering us to commiserate with other dads and moms from around the world so we can find ways to deal with them.
How do you or the modern day dad in your life deal with technology/social media and your kids?