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Modern Parenthood

Google Doodle: All hail the post-Google parent

Today Google celebrates its 15th birthday with an interactive Google doodle game. One father reflects on how Google has changed the face of information, learning, and parenting.

By Contributing blogger / September 27, 2013

Today's Google Doodle celebrates 15 years of Google with an festive interactive game.

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In the 15 years since Google was founded (you can see that momentous event commemorated here in today's cute Google doodle piñata game), the company has had a massive impact on the way Internet searching works. And by improving the Internet search from a largely ineffective random grab into a powerful precision tool, Google has also transformed a number of other massively broad spheres of activity, including commerce, government, and leisure.

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Contributing blogger

James Norton got his professional start at the Monitor as an online news producer, before moving over to edit international news during the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Since leaving the Monitor in 2004, he has worked as a radio producer, author, and food blogger. 

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Beyond that: Google has changed the way parents do their thing, too. We are now armed with the rapid ability to obtain knowledge on nearly anything we want, which makes us more effective (or more efficiently ineffective) parents than the world has ever seen.

In short: the post-Google parent is aware (possibly over-aware) of trends, ideas, and occasionally actual knowledge in a way that his or her pre-Google counterparts weren't. That includes ...

Keeping up with slang

Since time immemorial, language has changed and adapted, with hallowed traditions defended by increasingly scarce and embittered graybeards while young whippersnappers dish up hot dishes of new, nearly impenetrable slang seemingly for the sole purpose of confusing and annoying their elders. And then, of course, the students become the masters, confused in turn by the next wave.

Google may have helped to short-circuit this ancient ritual: nowadays, if you're trying to figure out what AFAICR means, or how to go ghost, it's a quick search engine query away.

Having some idea of who Drake is

And what good is having a crude, dictionary-derived understanding of slang terminology and usage without understanding the various horrible pop cultural influences who will be teaching your sons and daughters these desecrations of the English language? Again: Google to the rescue. From Arabella (from Teen Mom 3) to Zedd, the Internet oracle serves up a quick thumbnail biography so that parents can be roughly conversant in current events with their kids, if not actually fluent.

Obsessing over baby milestones

Once upon a time, parents needed to buy tedious parenting books in order to worry about the minutiae of evolving sleep patterns or the potential implications of being three days late to start crawling. Thanks to Google, we're guaranteed democratic access to literally dozens of sites that let us track, quantify, predict, and otherwise dissect every move and sound made and uttered by our poor, over-interpreted offspring.

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