Can digital technology make parenting easier?
Digital parenting is increasing in popularity across the world. The global baby monitor market is set to grow by 8.5% by 2020, and we are currently seeing a stunning array of smart devices popping up: smart sleep trackers, smart bottle-holders, smart pacifiers and even smart diapers that alert parents when their baby needs changing.
These different technologies are rapidly reshaping parenting methods. We are now able to quantify a baby’s development with apps like Babytracker and Baby+, enabling parents to track and log their child’s growth, milestones, and sleep and feedings patterns. Starling is the first clip on wearable word counter, which records the number of words a baby hears each day, promoting early vocabulary development. These apps visualize a baby’s growth in the form of graphs and spreadsheets, and are simplfying baby development into accessible figures.
Gadgets that once only belonged to medical specialists or in hospitals have now gradually started appearing in parents’ homes. Wifi connected wearables like the MonBaby clip-on, the Mimo onesie and the Owlet baby sock, for example, can keep tabs on a baby’s heart rate and breathing through the night and can alert parents to check on their child if irregularities occur. These digital devices can’t replace regular checking on a baby, but they have the potential to take some of the pressure off new parents.
Sproutling, a smart baby monitor bracelet keeps parents up to date on the baby’s physical status and, interestingly, learns from the baby’s past behaviours to provide specialised suggestions to parents. For example, it can estimate how much longer the baby will sleep and what their mood will be like when they wake up so that parents can prepare for it and therefore feel more in control. The innovative device goes further than simply offering data – it interprets and predicts human behaviour and emotions.
This category will only continue to grow. Newborn babies don’t come with instruction manuals and it can be difficult to to figure out what they do or don’t want, so perhaps these smart parenting gadgets will help new parents. Digital parenting tools are getting smarter every day, and while these devices are not a substitute for parental instinct, they can provide light relief to newborn parents and ease those sleepless nights.
- Article by Nelise Doornenbal