Modern parents must balance technology, boundaries

Two families share their different approaches to parenting in the digital age

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – It’s only been eight years since the first iPhone hit the shelves, and since then countless other new devices have entered our lives.

For Cheektowaga dad Scott Flick, fancy new gadgets are a distraction he tries to avoid.

“There are some core fundamental principles that existed 20, 30, 80, 100 years ago and there was no such thing as a cell phone,” he told News 4.

Flick, a single dad, allows his young kids Abby and Garret to have monitored use of an iPad and FaceTime him to say goodnight when they’re at their mom’s house.

Other than that, he keeps it old school.

READ MORE | 4 easy tips to keep devices from taking over your home

“It’s important to me that they learn how to be resourceful, more than anything else.” He tell his kids,  “Guys, there’s a million things to do, you have a million other people that have it so much worse than you, go have some fun, go out and play, get on your bike.”

He told News 4 his kids are so used to limited technology, they don’t even ask for the newest devices. But Flick admits, as elementary school students, it’s easier to set boundaries.

He said the real challenge will come once the kids become teenagers.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 92 percent of teenagers go online every day, with 24 percent of teenagers admitting they’re constantly online via their smartphones.

Flick says his kids won’t be getting their hands on those until they go off to college.

But things are run a little differently at the Greier household in Elma.

“I think it would be impossible for us at this point to parent children of the 21st century without having technology,” said mom Sharon Greier.

Along with her husband, Greier is raising four kids and relies on iPhones and Google Calendar to keep them organized.

Between sports practice, student council and Boy Scouts, Greier told News 4 without technology, she’d be lost.

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“It would take a lot more time and coordination face to face in the morning before we ever went anywhere and I think if there were changes in our daily schedule which happen constantly, we would really be high and dry,” she said.

Her eldest daughter, 14-year-old Abigayle, has a cell phone and a iPod, which she uses to email and go on Facebook.

All of her clubs and sometimes even her classes rely on social media to communicate; her school even has special rules set aside for phone use.

“My school has a red zone, a yellow zone and a green zone, for when you can’t use your phones and when you can use them, and when they can be up out of your pocket and when they can’t be, they have to be hidden. So it’s just totally different to what my parents grew up with,” Abigayle told News 4.

Both Flick and Greier can agree technology isn’t going anywhere, and told News 4 as their families get older, they’ll have to continue to adjust their approach. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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