You have a GPS app to track your free-wheeling teen, and you’ve downloaded a cyber-snitch app to spy on your tween’s social media activity. You use Charmin’s Sit or Squat app to find an emergency potty for your toddler and KaBOOM!’s Map of Play app to locate spaces for your preschool child to run wild.
For every parenting problem, there is an Android or iOS solution.
In a couple of areas, I’m still raising my kids analog style. And, frankly, old school is exhausting.
But I believe that 100-percent-digital child rearing can be a reality. Here are my big ideas for a few more apps that every parent could use.
Parents already use ride-share apps to ferry kids to activities, and Uber Minivan puts on-call carpooling in the fast lane. All Uber Minivan drivers undergo a thorough safety interview and background check. But with Uber Minivan, you can also choose driver options like, “Nag child over C grade in chemistry,” and “Listen and nod while teen girl complains about that bitch Paige in gym class.” Premium services include, “Haul lacrosse team gear,” and, “Answer questions about birds and bees.”
There are two types of parents in the world: the ones who volunteer to help with kids’ activities and the ones who volunteer and show up. And the first time you volunteer and actually show up, your name is placed on a county-wide list of “dependable parents” (aka “suckers”) and you will receive daily requests for more of your help.
While the PTO and youth soccer team can’t succeed without your time, talent and guilt, it’s really OK to say “No” once in a while.
Eye Twitch will screen your emails and texts, identifying phrases like “count box tops” and “individual orange slices.” You set how many hours you can volunteer each month. After your limit is reached, Eye Twitch will not allow your head to explode. If you try to bypass Eye Twitch and sign up for additional hours, the app will disable your car’s alternator.
Your husband thinks you’re a worrywart when it comes to child safety. Your mother makes fun of your newfangled ideas and says you read too many damn parenting books. Your friend Sequoia tsk-tsks you for not breastfeeding your child through kindergarten, and another friend says you’re too strict with “fun foods” like Pop-Tarts or Cap’n Crunch cereal.
Moderation Station keeps track of your child’s diet, activity level and screen viewing, and produces easy-to-read graphs outlining the number of times you said, “Because I said so,” versus, “Tell me how you feel?”
Next time one of your Judgy McJudgster friends suggests you’re too permissive or that your kids should eat more wheat grass, Moderation Station will jam their inbox with a two-gigabyte document that details every aspect of your child’s well-balanced life, including photo files of healthy bowel movements.
Costume in Your Closet
It’s the week before Halloween and you completely failed at hand-sewing a costume for your kid. Or your 10-year-old tells you he needs to dress up as a fictional character for a book report—tomorrow!
With Costume in Your Closet, simply input all the clothing and accessory pieces in your home, including all the crap in Rubbermaid containers in your basement. Next time Little Lulu says, “Tomorrow is historical character day at school!” you can simply enter a time period (or author, movie, book genre), and Costume in Your Closet will create a Betsy Ross getup using a skirt, soccer socks, and lace tea cozy you already own.
Dinner is in the crockpot, the teen is at the orthodontist, and you bought poster board for the third grader’s book report. Today, you are Super Mom, and you deserve a pat on the back.
Or do you?
Where’s the middle kid? Oh, that’s right—she asked you to pick her up from band practice at 5:00 PM. And it’s 5:00 PM right now.
The Sorry, Kid! app understands parenting guilt and helps you to get over it and move on. When a child texts “You’re the worst parent ever,” Sorry, Kid! delivers a quick “penance” shock to your hand via your phone. And with Sorry, Kid!, you can adjust the shock level according to your sin—select a small buzz for “You forgot to buy applesauce” or choose the high-voltage “Old Sparky” for more grievous sins, e.g. never taking your kids to Disney World.
So you think your little linebacker has a shot at the NFL, eh Pops? Maybe your 9-year-old daughter made the travel soccer team, and you’re seeing college scholarships or a gold medal at the Olympics.
The Sports Mad app is here to give you a hard smack back to reality. Using income, genetic and geographic data combined with statistics like “A high school baseball player has a 0.6 percent chance of playing major league ball,” Sports Mad will dash your obsessive dreams with cruel facts.
For example, do you live in Minnesota or have an extra $40,000 per year to send your child to a sports prep school? Are any of your son’s direct relatives over 6’3″ in height? If you answered “No” to either question, Sports Mad will deduct $100 from each paycheck, place the money in a college fund, and tell you to stop wondering what team your kid will play for in the Stanley Cup finals.