Chicago mom says there’s a upside to parenting in today’s digital age

We live in a high tech, digital world. There’s simply no getting around it. And while the technology of today brings with it a myriad of new problems for parents such as cyber bullying and privacy issues, as a tech-lover, I’m fully embracing the upside to parenting in this digital age. While also counting my lucky stars that today’s technology wasn’t around when I was in school.

For many years now our school has been using online grade books which allow parents to log in and track their child’s grades. For me this means zero surprises at progress report time. It means we’re able to address the issues of homework and studying on a daily or weekly basis rather than waiting until it reaches the “you’re grounded until you bring this grade up” phase.

Naturally, as a parent, I love this technology. As a child I would have loathed it. I mean, in Junior High I counted the days until I’d be in high school where they’d sworn to us there would be no more calls home if we didn’t finish our homework. They totally lied. My parents were called within the first semester of my freshman year! The online system also shows absences and tardies. Not that I ever skipped school or anything, but if I had, that online grade book would have ratted me out!

This year, though, has brought the coolest “spy”ware yet! Both of my older boys’ (4th and 5th grade) teachers are using ClassDoJo – a classroom tool used for tracking behavior. Teachers can give points for positive behavior such as being on time, staying on task and behaving in the hallway. They can also take away points for negative behavior such as tardiness, not staying on task and a host of other things I hope to never be made aware of.

The best part of this system…there’s an app for it! I can literally see on my phone how each of my boys are behaving throughout the day.

The app displays a weekly chart showing the percentage of positive versus negative points they’ve been given. One of my boys recently got his first negative point for being ‘off task.’ Thanks to the app we were able to have a discussion about it at home. I was able to get his side of the story and made sure he knew why he was given a negative point. Hopefully it doesn’t happen, at least for that same reason.

So for all the worries new technology brings, I am thankful for the ways it helps me – a full time working mom – stay connected and involved in what is going on when my kids are at school.

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