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Dear Reader: Eight Years Later

Ask yourself, ‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?’

Alayne Sulkin

Published on: October 31, 2016

Ronald Reagan said that famous line in a presidential debate during the 1980 election; I find myself contemplating it — and in fact, further back, to the election eight years ago — as we approach Election Day 2016.

Eight years ago, life was slower. In a few short years, technology has moved us to a new 24/7 experience with our families “together” yet often, sadly, hunched over our respective screens, immersed in our own reality.

Eight years ago, I was winding down after months spent espousing my loud and proud passionate political convictions for the candidate of my choice, Barack Obama.

Eight years ago, ParentMap was receiving a record-breaking number of letters from busy readers reacting to our political coverage.

Fast-forward to tonight in October 2016: It’s the last debate (thank God!) and I can’t watch another circus-like sporting event when so much is at stake for our children, our environment, our great nation and the world. In fact, you are reading the only election-related words in this November issue and their message is this: Vote, please.

Perhaps fittingly considering what a role technology has played in this election — there were 100,000,000 Facebook users in 2008; today there are 1.71 billion (that’s a 1,600% increase) — our November issue is all about the good, the bad and the ugly sides of screens, tech and more.

The good: Finding a family holiday gift that will engage your family in ways you’ve never dreamed of. 

The “bad”: our feature on porn. “Porn kills the village . . . by not talking about the reality of porn and the high likelihood our children will encounter it, we put our children at greater risk for having a negative impact on their healthy sexual development.”

And finally, the “ugly” has us all goofy and geared up in VR headsets (kind of ug!) and ready to enter a world that unlike us, our kids “take to like ducks to water.”

As a bonus: We’ve put our wise “elves” to work curating a list of the hottest toys. Their picks blessedly balance the perhaps less communal aspects of technology with all the screen time fun your kids will want. “Whether you have artsy souls, fashion mavens, Seahawks fans or Pokémon catchers, these funky finds will thrill your kids.” 

And with that, a happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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