Technology and Parenting

Being a parent in the 21st century has its advantages. 

These days there are a huge amount of resources providing invaluable advice in the shape of parenting forums and websites.  Taking things a step further, you may or may not be aware but there is also a wealth of downloads, apps and tools, many of which are free to use, that can help in many aspects of modern day parenting.  We’ll take a look at some of these now.

Flash Cards

If you have an iPhone or Android smart phone or a tablet computer, you can download flash cards which can help your baby develop vital language skills.  There is a free app called Baby Flash Cards which features many different words, illustrated by colourful pictures which babies will love to interact with.  If you’re looking for something similar to use on a desktop PC, you can get free flash cards at www.brillkids.com

One word of warning regarding child centric apps is to never let your child use them unsupervised as smart phones and tablets are expensive pieces of kit!  Apps like this are ideal for parents and children to use together.

Activity Logs

Smart phones are the ideal platform for activity logs, because your phone is always with you, so you can fill the log in straight away.  Baby Daychart is an Android based app and is the perfect way to keep track of, and analyse your baby’s activity patterns such as feeding and sleeping.  A free version is available with the option to upgrade to a paid version with additional features.

Internet Monitoring Software

Windows Live Essentials is a free add on to the Windows operating system package featuring tools such as photo gallery and family safety web monitoring.  You can download the entire package or individual elements at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows-live/essentials-home.
 
Norton Online Family has many functions to control your child’s internet use, including tools to help with web monitoring, website blocking and restricting internet access to certain times of the day.  The service is free to use and you can sign up at http://onlinefamily.norton.com.

Once your children are old enough to be able to use the computer, having some monitoring software such as this gives parents invaluable peace of mind.  

Games and Educational Resources

There are many great games, often with a good amount of educational value, for children of various ages at sites such as http://www.babygamer.com or http://www.educational-freeware.com.   These games are free to play and are a mixture of downloadable and browser based (no download required) formats.  

Finally

The above tools are just a taste of what’s available online; there are countless more programmes and websites which have useful functions for parents.  In order to avoid inadvertently downloading malicious software, always ensure you read reviews from multiple sources before downloading anything to your computer, to ensure you’re downloading something legitimate.