parenting in the information age

Information Overload

It is amazing how much information is available to you today as a parent. The invention of the internet and social networks has made accessing and finding lots of information easier than ever. A study conducted by the San Diego Supercomputer Center in 2013 suggests that by 2015 each person will consume 15.5 hours of media a day. That number is staggering.  We are literally bombarded with information all of the time. Are you overloaded yet? I know I am. Everywhere I turn there is more and more information about parenting, food, healthcare, education etc… You can find articles to validate or contradict any opinion you want. It is quite overwhelming.

Let’s look at the best food for your children as an example:

Parenting Magazine says they know the 15 best super foods for your kids. They include eggs, milk, blueberries, black beans and tofu.

Prevention Magazine lists some of the same foods like eggs, but they also list beef and a few others.

Cooking Light also weighs in by guaranteeing your children will eat their healthy food list. Like the other two there is cross over, but not all items are the same. They also include flaxseed, humus, avocado and mango.

What is a parent to do! We only are talking about three sources and we have as many opinions as there are articles.

For me l love having access to all of the information I could possibly need, but what I prefer is accessing it when I need it and not have it constantly pushed to me. The algorithms that choose what I want to read about on social networks have become annoying. Just because I read one article about activities for children does not mean I want to see my news feed filled with articles about all the activities I should be doing with my kids. These are some tips that I find helpful, when I actually practice them. I love reading and researching. Unfortunately, this means I cause my own overload sometimes.

  • Scan – When you are using social sites scan through posts and only stop to read the ones you are most interested in. If you get good at this type of reading then you will be able to bypass all of the articles that are not relevant to you at a given time.
  • Opt Out – Is there a publication or article type that is constantly being sent to you? Opting out is a great way to decrease the type of content you are seeing. Facebook make this simple. Right click on the corner of the article or update and select, don’t receive any more content like this.
  • Check the Source – When you are searching in Google for information before you click through to read, check your source. Just because a source is top in the rankings does not necessarily mean it is the most credible. For medical information sources like American Academy of Pediatrics or Mayo Clinic are wonderful, credible resources. Sources like babybump.com are not worth as much of your time.
  • Unplug – Sometimes the best thing you can do after you have overloaded yourself with information is unplug and let your brain digest all of those bits. Don’t be afraid to turn off the media flow. I promise you won’t miss much.Peace, Love & Taking My Own Advice,

    Kristen

Image Credit: http://naldzgraphics.net/

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