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Can I be a digital marketer AND a good parent?


Last Sunday, I read an op-ed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune from a teacher in Minneapolis about the derisive force smartphones have become for our children.

As a parent to 8- and 11-year-old children, I can see it coming. If we didn’t put paramaters on screen time for our kids, they would be glued to those things 24/7. Heck, some of my 8-year-old’s friends already have full-time devices. They’re 8!


So, with my parent hat on, I’m very concerned about how much time my two kids spend on smart phones and iPad-type devices.

Yet, as a digital marketer, it’s my job to convince people (including kids, depending on the client) to spend MORE time on digital devices.

That’s a bit of a conundrum.

I recently wrote about how I’ve changed my social media habits. TLDR: I’m ratcheting back MY screen time. And, I’m most likely not alone. Many among the early adopter crowd are doing the same. And, I would venture to guess it won’t be long until others follow suit.

Why? Because too much screen time isn’t helpful. Sure, it’s probably not *killing* us. But, too much screen time surely isn’t beneficial to my quality of life (the golf course is for me, actually, which is why I joined a local club this year for the first time in 12+ years).

Yet, as a digital marketer, it’s my job to attempt to reach people 24/7.

That’s a bit of a problem, isn’t it?

How do we deal with this issue?

I think it’s different for everyone.

And, it’s a bit of an ethical conundrum. Much like folks have challenges when rectifying working for a company like Philip Morris, which produces a product that’s been proven to cause cancer. Now, I know this is a bit different–the internet isn’t killing our kids. But, it is starting to impact their lives in negative ways (see Strib article above).

I’ve just been thinking about those two things more recently. In my role as a parent, I’ve been more focused on getting my kids to spend LESS time on devices.

In my role as a digital marketer, I’m pretty focused on reaching people on digital devices.

Now, am I going to quit my job as a digital marketer? Probably not. But, is this an issue we, as parents, are dealing with day-in and day-out? I think so.

I’d be curious to hear from other parents. Is this an issue you think about? Does it come up in your thought process when selecting jobs/clients? Or, am I completely over-reacting here?

Wouldn’t be the first time…




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