Nobody ever said parenting was easy. It was never easy, not even at the time the wives of the tribe had nothing else to do but look out for their children. Not even at the time every mom was a full-time mom, with nothing to do all day but cook, clean, spin, weave, sew, churn, wash, and look after the children. And it’s certainly not easy today when many moms are part-time moms that have to balance their professional and personal life. Of course, the ready-to-wear clothes, the supermarkets, online stores, and deliveries, all the modern amenities we have at hand have indeed made our lives a bit easier. Still, being exhausted at the end of the day is just as common today as it was at any point in history.
The bedtime story is going extinct
One of the things that fall victim to the rushed, crazy lifestyle of our modern age is the bedtime story. According to a recent study conducted by BookTrust, a charity aimed at getting children reading revealed that way more than half of the parents in the UK skip this intimate and bonding activity, preferring to hand their children off to the pacifiers of the digital age: smartphones, and tablets (or television). The reason given by most for neglecting this traditional activity is their schedule: they feel too busy to dedicate time to it. And there are many who can’t fit it into their schedule for work-related reasons: their schedule or commute simply doesn’t allow them to be home in time for it.
Smart speakers are versatile gadgets that are easy to use even with a basic understanding of smart home systems. They can be given a variety of voice commands and reply with information about the weather, play music, set timers, and alarms, keep your shopping list, even make voice calls for you. And, among many others, it can also tell bedtime stories.
For the busiest parents out there, this may seem like a godsend. Having a smart speaker tell a story, complete with sound effects. This feature is not restricted to smart speakers alone but it’s available on smartphones with a smart assistant function, too – it’s enough to yell “Hey, Google, tell me a story”, and the phone starts reading one aloud. A French startup went one step further: they presented a smart speaker that allows children to build their own story interactively and have it read aloud by the device.
While this may be a good way to reduce the kids’ screen time, especially before bed, and improve their vocabulary, it is also a surefire way to increase their reliance on technology instead of their parents. With more and more parents switching to digital storytellers instead of earmarking the time themselves, who knows what the long-term effects of this phenomenon might be?