Technology today just isn’t the same as it was when we dads were growing up. Computers are no longer massive hunks of metal that cost exorbitant amounts, connecting to the internet doesn’t make ear-grating noises anymore, and speeds are so fast that we often find ourselves wondering how to make the most of our internet connections. However, that doesn’t mean that we’re too old for new technology and it doesn’t mean we’re going to fall behind in our knowledge.
Keeping up with new technology can be fairly difficult, but it’s one of the best ways to connect with our kids. Whether it’s showing them our latest projects, helping them with school work or even tutoring them on how to use their computers, learning how to use the latest technologies is essential for good parenting. But how do you become a tech-savvy father, and how much is it going to cost you? Well, if you’re resourceful enough and know how to use the internet, then you could start learning how to use all of the latest gadgets and devices for no cost at all.
Online resources are helpful
Back before the internet was so widely available, we had to rely on magazines, our friends and technical manuals to get to know how to use something. Fortunately, much of that information can now be found online and there are plenty of guides to teach you how to use a new device, application or just about anything tech related. All it takes is a simple Google search and you’ll be presented with hundreds of blog posts, guides, articles and even videos to show you how to make something work.
When it comes to more complicated or customisable technology such as a smartphone, there are thousands of guides online that will tell you about the greatest apps, which programs are the best for different tasks, and what popular games are available. With so much choice, you could easily spend days just reading about this stuff and learning about all the amazing apps that you can use on your phone. In fact, there’s so much to learn that it can be overwhelming, so to give you an idea of how to get started, here are a few simple pointers.
Learn what software to use
First of all, stick to the basic software on your phone, laptop or computer. Don’t download applications or software just because a friend recommended it to you. The way you want to approach downloading or learning about new apps is to first understand why that software exists in the first place. People don’t make software for no reason, they develop it to fill in the needs of the user. For instance, your smartphone probably comes with a bunch of useful applications by default, such as a way to browse the internet, message friends and read your emails. Once you learn your way around basic applications, you can then start to branch out.
When people suggest software to you, take it with a grain of salt. Write the name down, do some research and ask yourself if you really need it. If you asked a tech-savvy child what to download, they’d probably give you dozens of games and useful apps that they personally use, but as a dad trying to become more tech-savvy, the last thing you want is to be overwhelmed with applications that you don’t need. Do your research and try to find applications that you would personally use by first thinking what you need an app for. Is the built-in alarm on your smartphone not good enough? Consider replacing it. Do you need an app to take notes but the built-in one isn’t cutting it? Search it up. Perhaps the default music player isn’t giving you enough options. In that case, consider downloading a different one.
Get into video games
One of the most popular uses for modern technology nowadays is gaming. Whether it’s the latest Playstation 4 Pro, the Nintendo Switch or even just a powerful gaming computer, kids these days are all about video games. From casual titles such as Candy Crush to more serious games like Minecraft, your children are probably playing dozens of games and will most likely play hundreds of different games before they grow into an adult.
The best way to get into video games is to just play. If you’re not sure what games you’d like, or if you’re finding it hard to compare today’s video games to older titles that we used to have on our old computers, then you can look at websites such as Gamesalike to find games that are similar to older titles that you used to play. For instance, if you used to enjoy playing pen and paper games like Dungeons and Dragons, an MMORPG such as World of Warcraft or the aptly named Dungeons and Dragons Online might pique your interest. If you enjoy sports, then titles such as FIFA 17 or Madden NFL 17 might be more suited to your tastes.
The best types of games to play with your kids are ones that allow online or splitscreen multiplayer. Kids love games such as Minecraft because they’re creative, fun and open-world. Luckily, Minecraft allows several players to play together in the same world, giving you the opportunity to connect with your children and play in the same game as them. You can build together much like you would with Lego, hunt monsters and even gather items together in order to survive the night.
Another great video game genre to play with your kids is the MMORPG genre. You can adventure together, slaying monsters and gathering experience to upgrade your equipment and tackle harder challenges. It’s a fantastic cooperative game that allows you to play together with your children, but these can get quite addictive even for an adult, so make sure you moderate your play!
Look for help online
There is, without a doubt, communities of parents on the internet that want the same as you; the ability to connect with children using modern technology. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to do it alone which is why a lot of parents go online to ask for help. Not only do they seek help from other parents, but also young adults who are trying to connect with their elderly parents using technology. The ability to share your experiences and learn from others is going to be a great boon to your cause, and there are many people who are more than willing to assist you.
When in doubt, head over to an online community such as r/Parenting and consider searching existing questions or asking your own. You’ll be surprised at how helpful these online parenting communities are, and if you can contribute to other questions then you’re sure to build up a solid reputation and even make a few friends along the way.
Kids love it when their parents show interest in what they are doing. Whether it’s the video game they’re playing, the technology they’re using or even just what they get up to with their friends, if you show interest then you’re automatically making it a lot easier for your children to connect with you through modern technology.
For instance, if your children are playing a video game on the television and you want to watch something, don’t kick them off and tell them to play something else. Consider using another television or a mobile device to catch the show or whatever you wanted to watch, and instead, sit on the couch with your child and ask them what they’re doing. If you show interest, your child will be far more enthusiastic about interacting with you and they might even offer to play games with you. If this happens, don’t hesitate to take the opportunity to learn about the world they live in.
It’s not hard to connect with your children by using technology. Assuming you show interest and learn about all the new gadgets and gizmos they have, you’re sure to find a way to speak to your children in order to get along better. However, keep in mind that technology is fast-paced and continuously grows, so your commitment to becoming a tech-savvy dad is going to be a lifelong journey. The important thing to remember is that technology doesn’t just help you become a role model to your children, but it can also help with your own life as well.
Many jobs nowadays require experience with different technologies, so the more knowledge you have with computers overall, the higher the chance of you scoring a promotion, impressing your co-workers or even starting your very own business. Technology is all around us and it’s not going away, so your best bet is to just get involved with it, learn how to use it and become an expert. With all the online resources available, you’ll find that learning about technology is just a question of how much effort you want to put into it and not so much limited to your wallet or time.