2014 Cyber trends: What role will smart devices play in your family life?

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Cyber Safety for Kids and Families with Joanna and Jodie on 103.9FM The Fish Family Morning Show

Google Glass Explorer Edition projects a computer screen and receives voice commands to record and connect.

Google Glass Explorer Edition projects a computer screen and receives voice commands to record and connect.

Technology applications are becoming increasingly integrated into every aspect of daily life, and smart devices are surfacing in all manner of form and function.

Some examples include:

  • Tablets, smart phones and notebooks are converging (lighter, thinner, wider, narrower) as texting and social media fast becomes the main artery of communication
  • Video editing and photo editing apps make it easy to create a portrait of  your experiences to your liking
  • Television is integrated with internet and the trend in advertising will be to build in branding into the story content
  • Smart watches – integrated with smartphones, allow you to monitor health metrics/exercise and diet, monitor blood pressure
  • Google Glass – record momentous events like weddings and graduations

The big question is will all this technology inspire us to chase squirrels (focusing on the busy stuff that feels urgent and like achievement, but is not important), or free us up to focus on important things in the realm of hearts and minds? (See 11-second clip below entitled,”Squirrel!”,  from the movie Up).

How much time will we spend editing videos and photos versus giving thought to and having conversations about what is happening in our lives?  If anyone has ever tried to watch their child’s sports event and take photos or video it at the same time, you know what I am talking about.

Our genuine attention is an extension of our hearts and minds. It cannot be faked.

Multitasking does not count.

Pros and cons of relying upon smart technology.

Practical value of smart devices. Resources like YourSphere, Tech Mamas and The OnLineMom offer great information about how the latest gadgets and apps can be used to help you manage your home and life. For example, your smartphone can be your personal assistant to make daily routines easier and more efficient. Apps for grocery shopping, banking, and medical advice offer efficiencies and conveniences for the modern parent.

Managing the media time and content also becomes easier with services like NetFlix and Amazon Prime that allows you to create programming that suits your family’s interests and values.

Security apps, like the FBI Child Finder, etc. are very helpful and with mobile connectivity in the event that a child goes missing, and can offer great peace of mind.

I agree with Beth Blecherman at Tech Mamas. The internet-enabled home has the potential for giving us great feedback to more easily monitor the routine things in life, and make home security more efficient and comprehensive.

Risks with over dependence on technology. By the same token, the technology that enhances can become our downfall if we are not mindful about striking a balance with family relationships, rules and technology in the culture of our homes. Some of the risks include:

  • Digital dementia (difficulty using your own memory)
  • Attention management – “chasing squirrels” and missing what is important.
  • Anxiety – unrest from constant internet connectivity focusing on things that are not necessarily true (commercial messages) and disturb the peace (texting drama at night for kids, for example)


  • Think about the task you are giving the gadget or application. Is it something that makes a routine more reliable so you can pay attention to more important things? If so, then make sure you use the time saved to pay attention to more important things.
  • Have a technology plan for your home and get the kids involved. Part of the process is establishing the criteria for the smart devices and apps to be used and why.


Joanna Jullien (Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien
(Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.


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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna (jullien@surewest.net) and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.