Good Digital Parenting
Blog | Nov. 26, 2014

Thanksgiving, Technology, and Gratitude

Academic Technology Specialist, Georgetown Day School

It’s Thanksgiving 2014, a time when we give thanks for family, friends, and the richness of our lives. It’s also a time for many of us to take stock and think about how well we live.

As a parent, teacher, and 21st Century learning advocate with a digital parenting focus, I spend much of the year suggesting ways that families, educators, children, and certainly, my students can strategize, enrich, and improve their digitally connected lives. And, of course, we are always attempting to learn enough to avoid potential problems.

But Thanksgiving is different!

Last year at our Thanksgiving 2013 celebration my family took time to consider the many good things that have changed in our lives since we live with so much technology. Each of us came up with a broad range of experiences that changed our lives in positive ways, bring extra excitement and joy our lives: experiences for which we are most grateful. Check out my list below.

I am thankful that digital life allows me to:     

  • Visit almost any library across the globe;
  • stay in touch with my students and offer support when they ask for help outside of the school day;
  • track down high quality medical information;
  • communicate, almost instantly, with professional colleagues across the country and internationally when I need to solve a problem;
  • connect with family members just about any time;
  • see exactly where the bad traffic is and sometimes even avoid it;
  • blog and strengthen my writing skills;
  • work with a group of colleagues to plan a presentation at a national conference without ever leaving our offices or going to a post office or even emailing;
  • listen to classical music on almost any radio station in the world;
  • plan a vacation and learn so much more about the quality and culture of my family’s destinations;
  • challenge myself to figure out new gadgets, apps, and websites;
  • make my charitable contributions online (with ease) to organizations that focus on helping to make the world a better place;
  • reconnect and build community with old friends — especially those who live far away;
  • make new friends; and
  • share — pictures, videos, stories, ideas, birthdays, and so much more.

Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, and researchers say that gratitude makes us happier. So when your family celebrates Thanksgiving 2014 remember, as you give thanks, to take a few minutes to consider how technology has improved your lives.

Cover image courtesy of Flickr.