CyberParent: Bone Conduction Headphones

Most parenting technology works like fruit machines: promising desperate people that it’ll suddenly solve their problems but all they get for their money is flashing lights and even more noise.

Which can distract kids temporarily but causes more problems is the long term.

But two technologies I was promised as a child actually work now: virtual reality and bone conduction headphones. Unfortunately virtual reality is incompatible with children. Wearing a computer helmet to punch aliens with a kid in your house is easy mode for Skynet.

“You’ve been so well-behaved since I kicked that football out the windowl.”

Bone conduction is better. And I mean better for all of life, especially parenting. It’s actual factual cyborg technology because it gives the human head an extra audio channel. The headband work by vibrating the bones beside your ear instead of inserting earbuds into it. So you can still hear everything around you! The exact opposite of what every other earbud wants to do, and an amazing upgrade for parents.

Now you can listen to music, podcasts, or talk to friends while still listening out for your kid and correctly responding to questions. You can catch up on whole series while they excitedly move the same stone back and forth four thousand times, all without ever summoning an Offended Infant Who Knows You’re Distracted by pulling out the smartphone screen. You seem like you’re still paying attention because you are, you’re doing everything you need to, and now you’re able to enjoy even more things as well. Because that’s what technology is meant to do for us.

You’ll still need to stop the music to follow a full conversation, but now that’s a quick press of a button, not holding up your hand to juggle everything you’re holding, extract earbuds, then pretend to be even older by repeating “EAH?” and demanding everyone else start again.

They also work with glasses, cloth masks, and even a gigantic head at the same time if you have one like mine.

Despite all that storage space it recently ran out of ink

Glasses sit perfectly fine across the ear hooks, though they are slightly more likely to slide off if you invert yourself seventy degrees while pitching and also yawing to twist your head like a ferret escaping a pipe maze. Something most people don’t have to worry about, but parents do daily while extracting the Red Car from a previously unknown gap between the couch, bookcase, and interdimensional abyss of LEGO.

I can’t compare different headsets because I only bought one, and as far as I’m concerned they’re now a permanent part of my body. RoboCop didn’t gain as much happiness from his extra equipment. I tried the Aftershokz Aeropex and absolutely recommend them to everyone, and also to any genetic engineers looking for something to bio-install into the first generation of Homo Neo to keep them too entertained to destroy us.

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