Parenting Challenges In The Digital Age

Parenting Challenges In The Digital Age

Many children are both victims of and participating in cyber bullying themselves. Helping your child practice appropriate behavior online can prevent them from becoming a target.

Teach your child “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” is a golden rule online.

Screen Time

How much screen time is too much?

It’s a complex question. Too much screen time may damage the brain, inhibit the ability to recognize emotions, and affect child development.

Simply banning internet-connected devices until a child reaches their teen or adult years is becoming less and less realistic. Computers, tablets, and smartphones have real value as educational tools as well as entertainment devices.

Also, digital communication is the new normal, and eschewing that entirely sets your child up for social isolation and fails to prepare them for adult life.

Balance is the key to managing screen time.

Children need firm limits on when and how much they can use their devices. Establishing these limits now will help them learn to set limits for themselves later in life.

They also need encouragement to participate in offline, non-screen based activities

Use the downtime to look at some things together online – if you’re on a ski vacation, how about checking out the history of skiing?

Introducing the use of internet through an “internet class’’ in schools would be a good idea to follow.

Teach Your Child The Internet Safety Rules

Teach your child how to stay safe on social media and in apps.

They should know how to hide their personal information and how to report and block any inappropriate communications they receive in a given online environment.

Digital  Parenting Skills

Modern parents need to encompass some new sets of skills in their parenting style.

1. Communication

Parent Zone  suggests the WWW approach to communicating with your child.

Ask:

  • Who is your child talking to online (classmates, friends in town/abroad, strangers)?
  • What is your child doing online?
  • Where are they going online (a type of websites, platforms, etc.)?
  • When is your child going online (with the sitter, grandparents, late at night, etc.)?

2. Active Mediation In Communication

Active mediation essentially means ensuring that your child knows it is ok to come to you to talk about what they are experiencing online, without fear that they will be punished.

Active mediation is particularly important when it comes to the use of the internet because children and indeed teens can encounter situations such as witnessing a cyber bullying incident while online, or come across a porn site at an inappropriate age and will need to feel secure in being able to discuss this with you without fear of sanction.

3. Critical Thinking

Put the thinking caps on and decide whether your family needs that new device, game, app, robot or what have you. Once you say yes, think of ways to use the technology or device safely and responsibly.

Then think of ways to maximize your privacy and data protection settings.

Rinse, repeat. Talk to your child about the pros and cons of using a device before you hand him/her a device, say  for example a smart phone.

Do not assume that he /she knows the perfect use of it.

4. Avoid Confiscating Devices

Parents can often confiscate or ban the use of digital devices as a form of punishment.

This is rarely, if ever, effective and in some cases can lead to children using digital devices in other people’s homes or borrowing smartphones from friends to access the internet.

It is human nature that if something is banned, it becomes more intriguing!

5. Confidence

Digital parents – have confidence that you really can do this!

Even if you start to panic thinking about all the fan culture of the Forties (those darn dances) or the latest YouTube, think that perhaps our parents and grandparents felt the same way when faced with Madonna in the ’80s or The Beatles in the ’60s. We shall learn to handle this as well without anxiety or confusion.

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