Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dads are connecting with their family through technology

Photo courtesy of Family Features
Everyone is a geek these days.
So it's not surprising that a survey titled "Confessions of a Geek Dad," conducted by Answers Research on behalf of Cisco Home Networking Business, found that 72 percent of the geek dads surveyed were more excited about teaching kids how to use tech tools than the traditional workbench tools their fathers taught them how to use. The dads also said they spend more time doing activities with their kids than their fathers did with them.
The other difference is tech tool school is always in session in the home (93 percent of geek dads in the survey said they assist their kids with their tech toys). Topics cover everything from how to use the latest video games and phone apps to playing it safe online.
"These statistics help describe a new generation of dads who've grown up with an ongoing evolution of new technologies and now use tech to connect with their family," said Cat Schwartz, tech expert and blogger. "These dads aren't just tech-savvy; they know how to translate that knowledge and excitement into fun and memorable traditions with their kids."
It's not as hard as you think. Regardless of whether you're a geek dad or not, Schwartz offers the following tips for creating new family traditions with tech in the home:
* Surprise packages: If you ordered a new computer, involve the entire family in the set-up process. From opening the box to assembling all of the parts, allowing everyone to follow along helps them understand how to use the product. Then they can fix it, too. This would be a good time to talk about the features and guidelines when using the device.
* With technology comes responsibilities: "In my home, we reward our kids with a phone at age 12 for their safety. We put rules into place as to how minutes will be earned and when they carry and use it," said Schwartz. "Also, we sync all of our phones to our wireless network to connect from while at home, so we save minutes in our data plan."
* Be crafty with the technology: Use the gadgets to introduce the family to new crafts and traditions. How about making a funny video to send to grandma and grandpa? Remember the magic mirrors you used to see at the circus that could make you as small as a leprechaun or as tall as a giant? Now there are apps that will do the same to a photo online. I wouldn't be surprised if there was an app for changing your voice.
"At least once a year, we take a family photo that we send to loved ones. With today's digital cameras and imagery editing tools, we can digitally add images of family members unable to be with us," Schwartz said, adding it's a fun way of bringing everyone together when we're miles apart.
"One of the best things about technology is that there is a continual stream of new and exciting innovations," Schwartz said. So families can explore something new and unique every year.
Computers are magnificent tools for the realization of our dreams, but no machine can replace the human spark of spirit, compassion, love, and understanding -- Louis Gerstner.

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