As women, we’re already making the vast majority of purchasing decisions in the home – whether it’s for groceries, clothes for the kids, furniture, or gardening tools.
Since coronavirus, how we shop has accelerated and changed the way we buy, with more than two million parcels delivered each day in the last week of April.
Meanwhile, our home environment has become synonymous with our work environment, exercise environment, and even our schooling and childcare environments for many. Plus, this year we were hit with an extra $240 in technology costs for schools’ Bring Your Own Device programs, in which students need to supply their own iPads and laptops.
It’s no wonder we feel like we’re the technology leaders of our own homes!
But if you’re like me, this responsibility of buying and managing much of the family’s technology isn’t as exciting as it may sound. It’s yet another aspect of home life we need to research, stay updated on, and be smart about so that we don’t waste time or money unnecessarily.
As the Co-Founder of a growing social enterprise in the health-tech space, here are my tips for making sure your tech purchases among these changes at home are the right ones:
- Make sure they work for the family, not just one individual: Whether it’s a new TV, trampoline or telehealth service for someone in your family, make an assessment of whether it accommodates the needs of the whole family. It’s no longer sustainable to be purchasing technology devices and services assuming each family member can enjoy them separately. As our lives are more intertwined than ever, if it doesn’t accommodate the fact that children and parents will regularly be in the same room, look for another option that does.
- Check how parent-child interactions are considered: As we’re learning, working, and more at home, many services have gone online. But simply adding a Zoom or Skype option doesn’t make an online service effective. For example, as telehealth options are growing, giving a child a video conference link to speak with a speech therapist on their own isn’t necessarily going to lead to the desired results. When assessing tech-based services for the family, ask up-front how the parents are involved in the process.
- Be realistic: It might seem reasonable to buy a few more video games for the family while there are more hours being spent in the home, but recognise that this is the same thing thousands of families (and adults!) are doing around the world, and multi-player games are bringing people together online at an accelerated rate. It’s a great way to connect, but there are clear risks to this as well in terms of security, excess screen time, and time away from the family. Similarly, if you’re going to shift to telehealth, exercising with an app, or learning online, don’t sign-up to services that have unrealistic expectations. They’ve got to be flexible, empathetic, and understanding of your family-first needs.
About Francesca Pinzone
Francesca Pinzone is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of online allied health services provider, Umbo. She is passionate about bringing health services to children in rural communities and removing social inequalities. She has a MA in International Public Health from the University of
Sydney, a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact from the University of NSW, and a Bachelor of Science, Nursing from the University of Technology, Sydney.
Francesca has over 12 years of experience working in non-profit organisations and in international development, having previously worked with Medecins Sans Frontieres in Pakistan, UNICEF in India and CanTeen in Australia, and also currently teaches Creating Social Change: From Innovation to Impact at UNSW Sydney with the Centre for Social Impact.
She is also a mother of a child who has received speech therapy.