Getting technical

Welcome to the RenoWelcome to the Reno News & Review’s winter Family Guide

When my dad set my brother, mom and me up with our first email accounts nearly 15 years ago, we all thought of it as just a formality—something we could use to message relatives, mostly. In the year’s since, every Christmas comes with a new account to set up, device to activate, or app to download. I often message relatives on my Facebook account now—at the request of my parents who, mercifully, still don’t have accounts of their own. My mom navigates her bank accounts and shopping orders from her iPhone. And my dad, who once said he would never send a text message, now messages me to catch up or tell me when to expect dinner.

If your family is anything like mine, technology has changed even the basic ways you communicate, relate to each other and manage your home—and the developments keep coming. In this guide, there are a few different stories about how changing technology affects our lives, health and, potentially, wallets.

A lot of ink has been spilled about our declining face-to-face conversation time in modern society, but for patients who can’t easily get to their doctors, screens might save lives. On page 12, Andrea Heerdt took a look at Renown’s new telemedicine program, which aims to bring doctors into patients’ homes via a remote diagnostic tool and, yes, a big ol’ screen.

Even as I’m typing this, I’m getting notifications from Instagram and Facebook, and I gotta say, it’s distracting. More and more research about the negative effects of social media use is starting to come out, and for RN&R’s teenage contributor, it’s compelling stuff. Read Oliver Guinan’s piece about why he quit social media on page 14.

Finally, parenting in the digital age can be a challenge—especially when there are a million products on the market all promising to make yours and your kids’ lives easier. On page 17, resident dad Mark Earnest sifts through some of digital dreck and puts together a worthy wish list of parenting tech.

It’s a brave new world out there, and while the nature of technology means we’ll probably be adjusting to something new immediately after this guide is published, consider this your update. Thanks for reading.

Best regards,

Matt Bieker

Special Projects Editor