Parenting and Technology: How to Raise Kids in the Digital Era
Young people and technology – whether you like it or not, smart devices are in your children’s lives and they’re here to stay.
“Too many of the older generation still believes that the traditional way of parenting – which they had with their folks – is as effective today as it was yesteryear. But as the changing times require, strategies in leading your kids to the right path should adapt to their ever-evolving environment.” – Ritely
If you have now accepted that your guidance as a parent needs to match the requirements of the ‘digital era’, you are at the right place.
Here are a few things you need to understand about getting involved in your child’s digital engagement.
1. You will mentor, not just monitor
If you are a boss, you can spy at every little thing your child searches, opens and sends on the Internet. But you are a parent that’s meant to teach those lessons so you can sleep well at night knowing they are well-guided.
“The more walls we build, the more we are just creating little hackers who are just trying to get around the fence,” said Devorah Heitner, founder of the website Raising Digital Natives.
According to her, mentoring allows parents to create an environment where kids will feel comfortable talking to you about their digital activities. In short, you are to teach and trust.
2. Technology is a purposeful tool; it only depends on how your kids will use it
Teens at present can’t be refrained from using gadgets and the Internet because this will pull them a step backward from the requirements of their environment. Schools require research, digital communication and computer skills.
You need to make it clear with your kids that technology is not meant for entertainment alone. If they are starting to change face-to-face connections with other people through so much online socialization, you need to impose a cutback.
3. You need to learn the platform as well
Of course, you cannot guide your kids will if you do not know the workings of technology. In this aspect, you can request for their assistance. Engage yourself in what they are engaging in so you can have a first-hand experience and will know what to develop and avoid.
4. Your children should understand that technology is not outside your authority
Some kids at present tend to respect their parents’ authority in things such as doing the chores, being a good student and going home on time. What you need to make them understand is that when it comes to technology, you should also have a hand.
Once you understand these essential reminders in protecting your child from the dangers of the internet and its benefits, you are all set to be a ‘cool and techy’ but responsible parent.
Here are some of the best tips to apply on being your kids’ ‘techy guide.’
1. Orient your children that you will be involved
Before anything else, let them know and understand why you have to interfere on their digital engagements.
2. Establish limits, routines and guidelines
Limits can range from restricting their screen time to the types of websites they are allowed to open. Provide them with the proper guidelines in setting up their social media accounts.
3. Learn technology skills together
Young people (not to offend the older ones) tend to learn technology faster. As a way of interacting with your child and knowing their attitudes towards the digital platforms, you should let them teach some of the hacks.
4. Encourage your kids to talk openly about their online experiences
Create an environment of openness. Understand their experiences, know where they are coming from and help them with the actions they need to take.
5. When you prevent them from doing something inappropriate, specifically explain why
They need to know the underlying principles that restrict them from taking specific actions in relation to technology.
6. Penalize their disobedience and reward their submission
As much as you apply consequences to their unnecessary actions, appreciate their compliance and reward them for it.
7. Make them understand that you have a certain set of beliefs and principles different from the standards of the Internet and other people
At present, the Internet has its own definition of right and wrong. Educate your children about your family’s set of principles to guide them with what they should believe.
8. Ensure that your children’s digital engagement does not restrict their physical activities and personal interactions with other people (family meals)
As a great example, restrict them from using their smartphones during family meals. Their circle of friends should also not be limited within the bounds of social networking sites.
9. Always set as a good example
Follow your own rules. Most of the time, your children follow what you do more than what you say.
10. Listen to your children’s inputs and opinions
Of course, your kids also have something to say. Let them say their oppositions so you can assess whether you have to improve on some areas.
11. Develop your child’s resilience to the threats and challenges of the Internet
Technology empowered bullying as much as it empowered self-confidence. Tell them that online judgments are far from reality.
12. Seek advice from experts on technology
The Internet is just waiting from your use. Research about the latest trends and learn technical aspects from experts to improve parenting in the digital age.
13. Use parental control softwares on the websites your child is restricted to reach
For children, the Internet is tempting. Block those unnecessary sites before they can even be able to launch them.
14. Restrict your children’s use base on age
For example, your kids below 13 can use smartphones for certain applications but they cannot set up their social media accounts yet.
15. Make your kids understand that their self-worth should not be dictated by the Internet
Too much exposure on social media that creates conventional standards on beauty, wit and attitude can build your child’s insecurities. Let them understand that they should not base their own standards on them.
16. Explain to them that they should not believe everything they see on the Internet
At present, some companies will present unreal news items to get engagements and profit from them. Let them understand that there are certain licensed sites that present reliable information.
17. Technology should solve problems not create them
If your child is starting to struggle instead of have ease in using technology, you should help them understand what’s no longer healthy.
18. Examine your child’s internet influences
Be friends with their social media friends and follow the celebrities they do so you can brief them with what to imitate and ignore.
19. Keep the computer in a central location
Computers should be inside your children’s rooms where they can lock themselves inside and navigate without anyone to monitor.
Cybercrimes and data breach happen within the web. You should know them so your kids can be warned.