By Caroline Knorr
Say the word “millennial” and most of us think of someone’s self-absorbed, entitled, high-maintenance kid. But that’s not all they are. For one thing, millennials are the largest generation in Western history. And those born in the early days of the millennial era – roughly considered 1982 to 2004 – aren’t kids at all.
Many are mums.
While the internet loves to heap scorn on millennials for being “impatient” and “constantly connected,” most millennial parents actually have an edge when it comes to raising kids in a digital world.
According to a study by BabyCenter, millennial mums spend more than eight hours a day online. And guess what? More than any other generation – even millennial dads – millennial mums say they’re doing a “very good job” as a parent.
Their embrace of technology may seem a little extreme to folks who’ve struggled to put the kibosh on their kid’s screen time, smartphones, and social media. But whether you roll your eyes or recognise yourself in some of the typical millennial mum behaviours below, incorporating technology into your families’ lives allows you to model positive digital habits. And we can all agree that’s good for kids.
Does this sound like you?
You got your baby an email address before it was born. Registering your baby’s name guarantees that their email will be his or her own name (instead of, say, Sarah2018). But it also allows you to send letters to your future kid, sharing your wisdom, hopes for the future, and feelings about motherhood.
You download high-contrast apps to stimulate your baby’s vision. Apps like Infant Zoo and Baby World combine black-and-white images with sound effects and other attention-grabbing features that supposedly help baby’s eyes learn to focus.
Science has yet to confirm that these apps really work (and of course they should never replace actual human interaction) but used in moderation — say, a few minutes at a time – they can be a welcome relief from the demands of parenting a newborn.
You use Snapchat to send random snaps to your partner. Millennial parents are savvy enough to know that not every drooling, potty-training, or tantruming moment is Facebook-worthy.
That’s why they share self-destructing snaps to the one person they know will be happy to view it, then forget it forever: their partner.
Your mum-bragging posts are a multipronged effort. Your go-to social media app? All of them. You want your posts to appear on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat. Better still, you use an app like Everypost that does it for you.
When your kid needs to raise money for a class trip, you start a GoFundMe. Gone are the days of knocking on neighbours’ doors to ask for a few cents for a good cause. Millennial mums take matters into their own hands and create a donation page on GoFundMe.
You have a Gold Gym Badge in Pokemon Go. You make every outing more fun by hunting down Shiny Magikarps everywhere you go. You know that the family that plays together stays together.
Your pediatrician is Dr. Google. Weird rash? Loose tooth? Before panicking or needlessly worrying your mom, you consult the experts at WebMD or MedlinePlus. Armed with information, you call the kid’s IRL doctor… unless it’s a real emergency. In that case, even millennial mums know to act fast.
Your preschooler has her own YouTube channel. For now, it’s set to private. And you would never record her if she wasn’t 100 percent into it. But who knows?
With her good looks and charm, she could be the internet’s next big child star.
You multitask. Or maybe you just make it look that way. How do you cook dinner, pick up your kids, play trivia games, hang pictures, go grocery shopping, get photos made, help your kids with homework, and exercise all at the same time?
Easy – you use on-demand services that let you order whatever you need: meal-kit delivery, ride sharing, handyperson services, supermarket shoppers, photo-printing apps, homework helper sites, and step counters that log every movement.
Your BFF is Alexa (sorry Siri). If you’re one of the millennials who’ve embraced the home automation revolution, you have no qualms issuing voice commands to devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The variety of entertainment, learning, and lifestyle enhancement they offer can be a real boon for families.
Common Sense is an independent nonprofit organisation dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology.