Austin is a tech town, and I do a bit of writing for the web, so I often get approached by parents concerned about kids and their digital world. There are certainly plenty of things in the virtual realm for parents to be anxious about — violent video games, bullying on Facebook, Miranda Cosgrove — but technology also offers solutions like net nannies, parental controls, and an “off” switch.
I generally feel that technology is not to be feared, but rather should be embraced as a tool to enhance parenting. As I look back on my career as a dad and husband, I can think of a number of apps that would have helped me along the way. For example:
The Suggestion Box:
At almost any given moment, I have of dozens of helpful suggestions for my wife about how to do things. Yet no matter how helpful these tips might be, they rarely do much for her mood. What if I could type my suggestions into an app that would then recommend whether or not to say it aloud. The app would need to have sensitivity settings ranging from “third glass of chardonnay” to “third trimester.” It would be a simple build; the answer would always be the same. Related app for dads of teens.
The Diaper Swami:
Dads tend to be adventuresome with feeding the baby, which can have disastrous results. If Dads were better able to predict the consequences, they might make better choices. Input the what’s on the tyke’s menu, and the app produces graphs on the Stank-o-meter, Up-the-back-o-meter, and the Buy-a-new-carseat-o-meter. Animations? Graphics? Your man will never feed Dinty Moore Beef Stew followed by three servings of stewed plums ever again.
A calendar app that would decide for you when your kids are over scheduled. It blocks you from adding playdates if there are already four soccer games, two birthday parties and a bat mitzvah on the same weekend. Evite integration. Caller ID friend blocking optional.
If these things apps currently exist or are now in development, please send royalty checks care of DadLabs.