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Family & Parenting

You Can Track Your Kids Anywhere, Anytime — But Should You?

Scary Mommy

July 2022

hen I was a latchkey kid in the ’80s and ’90s, there was a PSA that aired every night before the news: “It’s 10 p.m,” an ominous voice would intone. “Do YOU know where your children are?” This nightly scolding was such a cultural sensation that Andy Warhol and Joan Rivers recorded versions of it. Irony of ironies, it even inspired a Michael Jackson song.

It also perfectly illustrates how much parenting has changed in just one generation. Now, with phones and smartwatches enabling geo-tracking, and even devices that allow parents to monitor their teen’s driving speed or turn off their kid’s car music remotely, we are empowered with the tools to communicate with our children every moment we’re apart. Can you imagine parents today not knowing where their kids are at 10 p.m.? Absurd. Especially since they are probably in their rooms, scrolling TikTok.

But is this truly progress? What are the consequences of tracking our kids incessantly? What do we gain by doing so? And what do they lose? How do families reasonably navigate the possibilities surveillance tech has unleashed? How should we set limits around it? Is it helping or hurting our kids? Read More >

Boomer Vs. Millennial Parenting: 5 Ways We’re Different (and One Way We’re Exactly the Same)

Pure Wow

June 2021

Have you watched ET (1982) lately? The kids in that movie were able to hide an ALIEN in their house for what seemed like weeks, while their harried, single, working mom—loving, sure, but largely absent—raced in and out, ordering pizza, oblivious to their shenanigans. With full access to Reese’s Pieces and soda, they rode their bikes without helmets into the woods alone at night. Gertie was six. 

As one now-Grandmother told the New York Times, Boomer parents generally subscribed to the notion that, “My job was not to entertain [my kids]. My job was to love them and discipline them.”

Can you even imagine? Read More >

This 5-Minute Read Can Help You Find More Joy in Parenting

Pure Wow

February 2020

Last spring, my kids and I rescued a bird. Until then, I had been only vaguely aware of a nest somewhere up in the maple tree in our front yard. But late one afternoon, while I was cooking dinner, overseeing homework and revving myself up to run the bath-book-bedtime gauntlet, a friend dropping something off asked if I knew there was a baby bird covered in flies dying in our grass. I did not.

My children, then 4 and 7, ran to the window and immediately demanded we save it. I felt an overwhelming urge to stick my head in the sand, return to my mac and cheese, and march on with our evening routine. If my kids go to sleep significantly late, I feel myself becoming unglued. Then again, I couldn’t see where “traumatic bird murder” fit into our bedtime ritual. So, after panicked calls to several local animal hospitals, I learned the following: 1) It was nearly 6 p.m., they were closing and, no, they could not send someone to pick up a bird. 2) The bird—a grackle, I was later informed—would almost certainly be eaten alive by maggots within hours, before my children’s eyes, if I did not intervene. 3) It had most likely been attempting its first flight. Or it had been pushed from its nest, either by its mother in a teaching effort or by overcrowded and stronger siblings. I struggle to find a more perfect metaphor for childhood. Read More >

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