unnamedWhen should you introduce your children to technology? How much is too much? How is technology changing the approach to parenting? These concerns are as Dot Complicated as it gets. While children should be kept tech literate, screen time should not replace outside time or friend time. Randi’s book DOT explores technology but also teaches kids that it’s good to put the gadgets down and play outside.

On this week’s radio show, Randi addressed the conundrums that can come with parenting in the digital age. She was joined by Sarah Granger, author of ‘The Digital Mystique,” Sara Kloek and Lorraine Akemann, the founders of Moms With Apps, and David Atchinson of the parent commerce site Zulily.

Here are their thoughts on raising kids in a digital world.

On the new radar gun for text messaging while driving:

LORRAINE: “I like it! It will keep me honest.”

SARA: “I worry about privacy implications.”

SARAH G: “I think the threat of having that out there will help.”

On anonymous apps like Whisper and Secret:

SARAH G: “We’re getting to the point where it’s a little dangerous. Many apps aren’t that anonymous. There are ways to track them and find an IP address.”

LORRAINE: ” There’s accountability in having a credible online profile.”

On parental controls on Netflix and Amazon Fire:

SARA: “When parents are able to make the choice, better decisions are made.”

SARAH GRANGER is the author of ‘The Digital Mystique’ and founder of the Center for Tech, Media & Society.

On how ‘The Digital Mystique’ began: “When my dad passed away, everything stopped. After grieving online people started reaching out to me. I hadn’t thought about how to grieve online. Most people just want to know how to get through their day online.”

On how to monitor young teens online: “The best thing to do as parents is communicate. Pick a central point in the house so that when kids are online see them and be involved.”

On how young to start kids with tech: “The iPad has saved my life on so many flights I can’t even tell you.”

“Pay attention to healthy limits solves the problem on its own.”

On over-sharing parents: “Educating what the difference is between public and private on social networks. Education is Step 1.”

“Most people only need to see one picture of your kid a week.”

Fave app: DoorDash food delivery

Recently deleted app: Foursquare


Sara Kloek and Lorraine Akeman started Moms With Apps after meeting on Twitter:

On how Moms With Apps began: “We all just launched new apps and  needed to connect to learn the app marketplace. We did what moms do best—support each other.”

On monitoring kids online: “Balance the need to explore. Establish healthy habits early on.”

“We started making apps because we couldn’t find what our kids wanted online. Things that helped them figure out how to read or do their times tables.”

On changing skillsets: “I’m on my kids about typing and my kids already onto using the microphone.”

On what apps to create: “You see the need because you have the living room lab.”

On when to start kids with technology: “We think parents know best.”

On using tech as a reward or punishment: “Technology is a tool to solve problems. A reward is self-motivated and intrinsic.”

On using location tracking: “Carriers have parental tracking and most parents want to know where their kids are especially if they aren’t responding.”

“There are laws that prevent tech companies from sharing things from kids. There are federal government barriers. ”

On when to allow teenagers to private screen time: “That’s a personal decision between kids and parents. Circumstances change with age. ”

Lorraine’s favorite app: Yahoo weather.

Sarah’s favorite app: Clearsky.


David Atchinson is the SVP of Marketing at Zulily, the flash sales web site for children’s clothing and accessories. David was a member of the founding team and the first marketing employee. Zulily now has 4.1 million active customers in just 4 years thanks to social media.

On reacting to quick changes: “Sometimes things don’t pan out or work. We’re trying a lot of new things. Once we find something with a backbone, that’s when we’ll decide to invest more resources. We’re staying up on new developments.”

On emotional connection to their brand: “It’s a combination of experience and newness everyday.  We’re scouring the planet for what moms and women want on a daily basis. Six am, when we launch sales, comes whether we’re ready or not.”

The key social media technique: “Focus on daily execution not giving up.”

The key to staying on top of trends: “Adding personality. It’s about newness and engagement.”

On getting people out in the real world once you buy something online: “We focus on mom and kids. Being a parent is a very active thing. Being active is part of having fun. It’s natural.”

App he can’t live without? “Dropbox—all my kids pictures are there.”

“Facebook. My wife is constantly posting things about me so I need to keep on top of what I’m doing and be part of her conversation.”

App he deleted: “Sixteen gigs isn’t what it used to be so there are no gaming apps.”


Join “Dot Complicated with Randi Zuckerberg” next week when we talk to leading investors in Silicon Valley. You can even call in to pitch your ideas!

In honor of the Rosh Hashanah, Randi has narrated Wake Up World, an interactive book for the Jewish New Year that turns your smartphone or tablet into a shofar you can actually blow—proving once again how tech can help with tradition! 

L’shana Tova!!