It’s always mentioned that how difficult it is to parent in this digital era.
There are so many decisions to be made regarding smartphones, applications, apps, and games, and they are being made at younger and younger ages. Tablets for preschoolers have been developed by Amazon and others. Kindergartners are getting smartphones from their parents. There’s also a potty-training app for iPad that includes a stand.
Much of this takes place until they enter elementary and middle school. Then there’s Minecraft, Moshi Monsters, and Club Penguin. Texting becomes more common, especially among girls, and new issues emerge as a result of photo and video sharing.
And then there are the teen years, which bring with them an onslaught of social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, not to mention anonymous apps like Ask.fm, Secret, and YikYak. Sexting and cyberbullying, as well as identity theft and just spending too much time online, are all problems that occur.
What does a parent do?
So, to become a good digital parent, We have tried to distill many years of work in this ever-changing space into seven easy, but still challenging steps. It is unquestionably a journey, just like parenting.
Here’s how it goes:
1. Have a conversation with your children
Maintaining an open line of communication with your children is the number one predictor of successful digital parenting. Early and often communication is important. It’s not like the debate between the birds and the bees. It’s more of an ongoing conversation that can alter and change as your child progresses through various developmental stages. Maintain your composure. Be honest and forthright. But don’t stop talking.
This is most likely the first time in human history that children are in charge of technology. Seeing a 7-year-old clarify how to post a video is humbling. As you try to master Pandora, your teen will roll his eyes once more. However, there is a plethora of information available in the form of tips, videos, descriptions, and guides. If you’re unsure, simply type your question or concern into your favorite search engine, and you’ll find plenty of answers.
3. Put parental controls in place
It should go without saying that there is some material on the Internet that you do not want your children to come across. To help you navigate your child’s online experience, all of the major operating systems, search engines, mobile phone companies, and gaming platforms provide either free or affordable parental controls. Switch from controls to monitoring tools as your children get older, particularly around time limits to prevent texting in class or vamping late at night.
4. Create ground rules and impose penalties
Many parents are unsure where to begin when it comes to establishing digital rules for their children. However, there are a variety of online protection contracts to choose from, as well as basic house rules like no smartphones at dinner and turning in their phones at night. Once you’ve established the ground rules, stick to them. Let your children know that if they violate the rules, they will lose their online privileges, and be honest and consistent about the consequences.
5. Make friends and join them, but don’t stalk them.
When your teen turns 13, make sure you’re her first friend on Facebook. Twitter and YouTube are great places to keep up with your kids. Don’t go overboard with frequent remarks, but don’t skimp on them either. As your teen makes his first forays into the world of social media, it’s important to stay close. Don’t, however, fall into the trap of spying on your children. What builds confidence is talking rather than stalking. Allow your teen to try new things, take (healthy) risks, and develop resiliency.
6. Discover, share, and rejoice
Don’t hesitate to go online with your kids now that the rules and resources are in place. Play games, watch videos, share pictures, and generally spend time online with your kids. Take notes and have a good time. Share your favorite websites and applications with others. Take a look at the world through their eyes. Also, inform them of your values you lead them down the path, tell them about your principles and beliefs.
7. Act as a positive digital role model.
You will be the change you want to see in your children by being the change you want to see in yourself. Avoid the urge to check your email or send a fast text while driving by not taking out your phone during dinner. Keep a close eye on your own digital behaviors and compulsions, and set a good example of digital balance and behavior. Both online and offline, your children will pay much more attention to what you do than what you say.