Is the Digital Age Driving Parents Apart?

In today’s ever-connected world, where most kids in their tweens and teens have their own cell phone, are parents starting to lose genuine connectivity with each other?

There are many situations where technology has taken the place of what used to be good old fashioned face to face communication. Email has become the de facto standard for communication between parents when it comes to organizing events, soliciting help for fundraisers, or planning parties. There are many times I find myself at one of my daughter’s games or other events and have no idea who these mysterious people are behind the email addresses. My wife and I often say to each other “Is that so-and-so’s mom over there?”

Uh, do I know you?

Uh, do I know you?

Perhaps the most telling of the shift in technology replacing parent to parent communication is in the use of texting. There have been many times where my daughter will have a friend sleep over, or someone over at the house for any number of reasons. The planning that goes into the visit is usually performed completely by my daughter texting her friend. They plan the entire meeting including which day, how the person is going to get to the house, what time they are coming, and what time they’ll be picked up. I’ll even find myself participating by telling my daughter to ask particular questions or giving her instructions to pass along.

Ultimately, the doorbell rings and I’ll come to the door to see the kid in the doorway waving to their parent as they drive away. When it comes time to pick up, the parent will text the child when they are on their way and then text them again once they’ve arrived and are sitting in the driveway. Again, a cursory wave to the car idling in my driveway as the kid bounds down the steps and out the front door. I will never even see the parent.

Now, I could take this personally and think they just don’t like me or that perhaps I have a personal hygiene problem. But, I’ve also found myself doing the same thing. There have been numerous times where I’ll pull up to my daughter’s friend’s house and simply text her to come out instead of going up to the door.

I don’t know what is driving us to plan and execute these covert missions without detection or interaction between parents, but it does seem to be growing in adoption, especially as your kids get older.

Do you plan and execute events such as sleepovers, birthdays, and sporting events wholly through technology, using your child as a middleman, without really interacting with the other parents?

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5 Responses to Is the Digital Age Driving Parents Apart?

  1. Zoe Claire says:

    My kids are older so they do the planning now. But I still make a point to meet the parents of any kid where they are spending the night. Once I’ve met the parents, I don’t mind just dropping them off. I do try to wave to any parents making drop off’s or pick up’s at my house. I figured parents were keeping their distance because the kids were getting older. Maybe I need to switch deodorant? LOL

    • I completely agree with you. I try to meet all parents at least once before the kids stay the night. Mine are also older now too so that does make a difference with the planning and how things happen. I wouldn’t just drop off my 3 year old from the driveway and wave as I sped off…lol

  2. Tim H. says:

    I think people are missing prime networking opportunities by relying on text messages or other forms of electronic communication, whether it be to simply form new relationships, or create potential business opportunities. Of course, this isn’t necessarily ideal at times, but I think one needs to be aware of the impact of missed opportunities.

    • I agree Tim. There is still tremendous value in learning to interact directly with people. I try to teach my kids that valuable lesson even if the digital age is making communication easier and faster.

  3. This really has me thinking, Jeff. I’ve always said if you really want to know the kids your children are hanging around, you need to know their parents.

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