[caption id="attachment_21148" align="alignleft" width="300"]Glowing computer screen CC license timsnell[/caption] It’s 1 a.m. when I look up from my screen. I’d only meant to sit down for a few minutes and catch up on my email. That was two hours ago. I try to trace where I lost track of time - was it the link in an email that led me over to Facebook? The interesting article that led to another interesting article that led me to my Twitter feed or LinkedIn profile and back again?

[caption id="attachment_20164" align="alignleft" width="300"]Baby on an iPad Creative Commons license by Tia.[/caption] When my now 15-year-old twin daughters were little, we would pack crayons and paper for them when we went out to restaurants. Remember crayons? I challenge you to spot a kid using crayons next time you visit any family restaurant anywhere. Most of the diaper set will be swiping their ketchup-smeared fingers across touch screens, chewing on their parents' expensive smartphones, playing engaging games or watching videos on electronic devices. iPads are the new crayons and board books.

Teens on the bike pathLast week my husband and I got all three girls to go biking with us. This is a much more difficult undertaking than it used to be, when their social lives were completely under our oversight. I didn't appreciate it at the time, but it's been a while, and our twin almost 15-year-olds are constantly busy with friends, school and extra-curricular commitments. And while I like to think they do still enjoy hanging out with mom and dad and their younger sister, it's probably not as high on their list as it used to be.

social media workshop flyerOften at my parenting workshops I will ask for a show of hands from parents who feel their kids' technical skills online have outpaced their own. I'm no longer shocked by the number of hands that go up. With them come guilty confessions from parents who need their six-year-old to turn on the Apple TV, their eight-year-olds to figure out why the printer isn't working, or the ten-year-olds who help them download and set up apps on their smartphones.

taking risksThis is one of my favourite pictures. My then 11-year-old daughter is showing off how well she rides without hands on the handlebars. You can't see her face but if you did, it would be the kind of pure exhilaration you only see in children. The absolute pleasure in the skill, the sensation, the slight frisson of danger. She is totally in the moment, in a way adults rarely are.

Child behind the wheelThe number one question I get in my parent workshops on bullying and Internet safety is how to effectively control the amount of time kids spend online. From the time they are old enough to swipe their sticky baby fingers across a touchscreen straight on through high school, parents worry that way too much time is spent in front of the screens of various devices.

[caption id="attachment_1722" align="alignleft" width="300"]Sisters Talking to your kids about drugs also means listening to what they have to say, whether at the dinner table, out for a walk or in the car.[/caption] If your house is anything like ours, all the members of the family blow in from their own hectic lives for a brief 30-45 minute daily window of togetherness. Between work, school, basketball, volleyball, debating, gymnastics and more, dinner is often the only time all five of us are sat down together during the workweek.