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My New Year’s tech resolutions

In his first parenting blog of 2017, Gary Crossing vows to change his ways. Or at least try.

I’ve never been any good at sticking to New Year’s resolutions. On 1 January 2016 I vowed to get fit and get my eyes tested. To this day you can see me huffing and puffing up the high street, squinting at shop windows like an asthmatic mole.

It’s going to be different this year. Oh yes. For I have a few tech resolutions that I promise to try to stick to at all costs. I will try. If I write them down that makes them official and harder to ignore doesn’t it? Anyway, here goes.

1. I vow not to check my iPhone first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

Just how important are the Facebook posts of others? Cute children and rants about Brexit and Trump can wait, as can breaking news on the BBC app. I’d rather fall asleep with a book in my hand than my mobile. Since becoming a parent, there’s no such thing as waking up in your own time or having a lie-in. So why make things worse by plugging yourself into the real world as soon as you open your eyes. At least have a cup of tea first, eh.

2. I must not zone out when my kids are telling me about their latest video game.

If I ask them what they did at school that day or what they had for lunch, they can’t remember. But get talking to them about what they have just built in Minecraft, or the latest level of Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja, and you’ll never get away. While they are trying to tell me about something that’s important to them, I have a mechanical monkey in my head playing cymbals like Homer Simpson.

It’s good that they want to talk to me about what they are doing online and I need to encourage that and keep it going for as long as possible.

3. I should stop worrying about what other parents think about my kids’ tech use.

If we’re at a restaurant waiting for our meal and the boys want to play on their iPads while we talk to other adults for a change, what’s the harm in that? The sound is down and they aren’t running around in between tables shouting.

But then you spot them, a couple of tables across. Looking at us with smug disapproval while their kids colour, read or play I ruddy Spy! Equally annoying are the parents who make it quite clear that they object to children using devices but are quite happy to let their kids come over to our table and watch the iPads over our boys’ shoulders. We’re not minding your children for you while you have another sneaky glass of Prosecco madam!

4. Completely clear out my Hotmail inbox.

At the time of writing I have over 14,000 unanswered emails. They are nagging away at me. It is becoming an obsession. Endless newsletters and spam from gig venues, clothing websites, theatres, toy shops, insurance companies, notifications from Twitter and Facebook, bills, people who I have never worked for telling me they have an outstanding commission cheque for me for $3,000, and young Russian women who are apparently very keen to marry me. I occasionally get messages from friends and family too.

It would give my mental health a welcome boost if I managed to start the New Year with a clear inbox and to click ‘unsubscribe here’ a few hundred times.

5. Get fit with the help of some tech.

Perhaps I should get myself a physical activity tracker like a Fitbit. I could chart my calorie comings and goings, check on my heart rate, count the number of steps I take in a day, monitor my sleep. Sounds exhausting just thinking about it but I’m sure it would pay off. I’ll let you know how I got on this time next year.

Meanwhile, I still have to get down to the opticians. Wherever they are. Happy New Year!