4 Ways Technology Helps Me Keep My Kid in Check

Still waiting on Apple to
develop a kid remote control
When Teen Girl was still small, I remember being a little put out with people who seemed to take great joy in warning me about “that age.” She would turn 12 or 13, they predicted, and everything in our house would go topsy turvy, along with her attitude, her behavior, and her personality. It wasn’t just one or two people telling me this. It was folks at church, strangers on the street, beloved family members. They all seemed to have some firsthand experience and they all shared it, irritatingly enough, with this better-you-than-me smirk stretched across their lips.


After hearing it for the 40 or 50th time, I got a little hainty because it felt like these people were speaking chaos into my household, basically wishing it on us before it even happened, if it was going to happen at all. So I prayed early and established open communication when she was still in elementary school in preparation for this Great Tweenage Meltdown that was supposed to mollywhop my little two-person family.

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But I also started putting technology to good use to help make my job— especially as a single mom and with that, a one-person parenting outfit—just a little bit easier. While she’s in her room working on her 120,000th tweet (no exaggeration), I’m using the web for my own agenda.

Pop-up reminders. I have a thousand things to remember and a scattered brain to contain them all. God bless the inventor of the Post-It Note, but an extra special blessing on the person who conjured up the pop-up reminders for cell phone calendars. They keep me on track for PTO meetings and dance recitals, and also jog my memory about not letting her go to X sleepover or Y football game because she’s on punishment. Just in case I slip up.

Family Locator. Girl Child was bestowed her first set of house keys and the freedom to walk to school this year. It’s a short stretch, not more than a quarter mile, but a lot can happen in between the front stoop of our building and the front steps of the school. Installing a GPS on her phone gives me the peace of mind that her impressionable tail isn’t flitting off anywhere she isn’t supposed to be or being coerced into traipsing off to other parts of the city. I trust her, but I also remember being 13 and thinking, “as long as my mom doesn’t find out, no one will get hurt…” Wrong.

Google Alerts.
I have no problem admitting that I check up behind my daughter’s internet activity. (And her activity in general.) What mother in her right mind wouldn’t be hot on the cyber footprints of a 13-year-old girl, especially one with all of the accoutrements of depravity that abound in the inner city? Between Twitter beefs spilling over into real-life brawls and sexting making internet sensations out of unsuspecting (yet still very foolish) girls, I have a keyword set for her name on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. That way, if something pops off, I’m not the last to know about it. Parents so often are.

NetClassroom. Every school that participates has a different name for it, but I am sending up a silent hallelujah for this particular online grade monitoring system. Her middle school swore they were going to implement it and never did, but this thing has made my life so much easier now that she’s a high school student and down to the final, no-BS stretch of secondary education. No more shaking her down for test scores and homework assignments. It’s all splayed out there on the screen for me to see and follow up with her about, if need be. Loves.  

How has technology made your parenting job a little easier? 

Image via Thunderchild7/Flickr

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