Rian Van Der Merwe gets himself an Amazon Echo and shares his insights into the experience. But more importantly, as a father of two young girls, he shares some thoughts on the difficulties of raising kids with all this new technology available.

“Alexa, are we bad parents?” This is, of course, the big question when it comes to technology. Should we immerse our kids in it or should we shield them from it? We all find our own way when it comes to parenting, and even though we’re still working on what this technology balance looks like, my current feeling is that voice-activated UI doesn’t have many of the issues that are traditionally brought up as negatives about kids and technology.

Rian is a thoughtful guy, so this particular sentence caught my attention:

The Echo is not an “alone” device, and I think there’s something really powerful about that.

Interesting. As parents of four, we have an always evolving agreement with our kids about “screentime”. And one of our ideals is that we would like the usage of screens to be something other than 4 kids all on separate screens in 4 different locations on our house. We try to encourage a togetherness in this time each day. It’s not easy with an age range spanning 6 years, but so far it’s working out.

Any technology that supports this behaviour is a step ahead.