When you become a parent, the pressure is on. Everyone has an opinion on parenting dos and don’ts. Even those who have no children.

Parent shaming is popular now, but let’s face it, parent shaming has always been popular. As soon as people learn that another bundle of joy is about to enter the world, a line forms full of people ready to dispense sage advice to expecting parents.

Some of the most difficult decisions today surround the use of technology, video games, and social media. I’ve even heard some parents say that they would never allow their child to have a tablet or a phone. We all know that too much television and online consumption is bad, but I think there are many things children can learn from technology, social media, and television.

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First, a child that is never allowed to experience technology will be extremely behind when he or she gets to school. As early as kindergarten, students are on computers learning to type and navigate the keyboard.  One of the key things we need to teach our children is how to be flexible, adaptable to change, and of course keep up with every-evolving technology.

Online learning is a great tool for children and adults of all ages. Many apps make learning fun and keep children engaged long enough to learn some critical skills, especially younger children who have short attention spans. Even television shows tackle social skills such as how to be a good friend, how to deal with emotions and stress. Television specials have been addressing social topics including the pandemic, racial justice, and other current events.

YouTube can be amazing and frightening at the same time. There are videos that touch on just about every topic you can imagine, from current events, and yes, how to master your favorite video games.

But children can learn some handy skills. There are videos that teach cooking and nutrition skills, car maintenance, and of course, the now popular, life hacks. I was amazed once when a child I knew said that everything you need to know can be found on YouTube.  This child knew to keep produce fresh, like wrapping celery in aluminum foil and putting clear plastic wrap on the end of a bunch of bananas to keep them from over ripening. Amazing!

Like most things in life, moderation is the key. Children shouldn’t be living out their lives in front of a screen, but there are benefits to living in a digital world. If we have learned nothing from this pandemic, modern technology, computers, and smart devices have provided a necessary way to keep connected when life takes an unexpected turn.