We all know that the term “digital parenting” is all the rage these days. Our approach has been similar to how we parent our children when confronted with similar tough topics (think non-alarmist, non-judgmental), except there is no precedent, unlike with sex or drugs. As an example, we don’t have the one we got as kids.
As a result, we’ve attempted to create a forum and dialogue around tech-positive parenting through this platform and our Out Tech Your Kids Facebook Group. We agree that technology has become an integral part of life, and because our children are digital natives, we have chosen to accept rather than avoid it. We also believe that rather than monitoring and managing our children, it is our responsibility to tutor, direct, and inspire them (depending on their age). And that it’s important for us to be aware of what our children are up to and what they may be up to (that means being ahead of the curve).
With that in mind, I’d like to share the 5 aspects on how you can be a tech-positive parent in your house. This does not imply a free-for-all policy, contrary to popular opinion. Here are some ideas for raising the next generation of digital natives who will use technology to make the world a better place.
1. Discuss technology with them, but not just about it; show them how to use it. Even if your children aren’t using social media yet, make sure they understand how to comment and respond to others.
2. Participate in digital media with your children. This can include everything from watching TV and movies (including their favourite YouTubers) to playing games with them (apps, computer games, and more).
3. Show them how to create their own material. It’s not just about consuming technology. These are important skills that your children can use in many aspects of their lives, no matter what they end up doing as adults, from learning to code to learning how to create their own YouTube videos.
4. Introduce your children to social media at a young age. Before you freak out, I’m not suggesting you give your 7-year-old Instagram access. Jordan Shapiro, on the other hand, makes an excellent point: when your children are younger, they are more likely to listen to you and, well, they are a little nicer (dang hormones). I began using TikTok with my daughter on my own phone, teaching her how to use it (or rather, her showing me how to use it), and ensuring that she was capable of using it on her own phone before letting her loose with it.
5. Show them what other advantages there are of using technology. It isn’t just coding games and educational apps that are common. It might be how we get our news, or how we think about new things. It can be how we learn about other cultures or learn skills for which we can’t find an IRL instructor