Raising a child in this day and age is a completely different experience compared to the way it was only a decade or two ago. We as parents haven’t grown up surrounded by everything digital so facilitating a child’s healthy relationship with technology may seem like a hard task. Thankfully, we’re here to help you become a better parent in today’s technologically advanced world.
1. Screentime shouldn’t be alone time
Before smartphones and tablets have become common, screentime was a family activity. Many adults cherish the memories of watching movies with their parents. Nowadays, many kids, especially teens, tend to scroll social media and watch videos alone which has led to parents losing control of what their kids are exposed to daily. Although you can’t completely limit this aspect, you can surely introduce technology into some quality family time. For example, you can play multiplayer games with your children or watch YouTube together. This way, you can still have some kind of overview of what your youngest are exposed to without hurting their privacy.
2. Connect with other parents
One of the great benefits of technology is that it has brought the world together in many ways. Nowadays, you’re just a Google search away from any information you need and a quick login away from great supportive communities. With that in mind, there are amazing ways to connect with other parents and read through their own unique experiences. Being exposed to multiple worldviews and different ways of doing things can be of great help. So, we encourage you to make an account on parenting blogs and platforms such as Mumli to help you learn some new parenting methods. This way, you can make new friends who are in the same boat as you, trying to guide their kids to the right path to become compassionate and successful adults.
3. The youngest shouldn’t be online
The biggest mistake parents make is that they give a phone to a very young child, even before their second birthday. Kids this young shouldn’t be exposed to the online world, especially not without you overseeing it. Many people give a tablet to their kids to keep them easily entertained while they do chores. This can lead to a long-term addiction to technology, starting from a very young age. If you find yourself doing this, opt for old-school toys instead.
4. Lead by example
When it comes to parenting, the tenet of leading by example is one of the most popular ones and for a reason. Kids are like little sponges who are learning by observing the world from the moment they first open their eyes. This model of learning can also be expanded to technology. If you’re trying to limit your children’s online time, you can’t have your phone glued to your hand 24/7. Kids are then frustrated and don’t understand why you’re allowed something they are not. Therefore, you should work to balance out your own digital dependence first and only then you can successfully teach a healthy relationship with tech.
5. Talk to your kids
Unfortunately, many parents talk to their kids about limited topics often including only school, sport, and their friends. In order to get a better glimpse of what your kid does online, expand your topics of conversation. Talk about social media, the most recent memes (even if you don’t find them funny), and the most popular influencers. The reality is that these are their most common interests and having a parent respectfully and curiously asking questions can lead to very productive conversations. Stay open-minded and let them lead the conversation. You may also research the influencers they follow to ensure they’re a good example for your kid. If you think these social media stars are a lousy influence, carefully explain it to your kids. Also, make sure to elaborate as to why you think so. Make sure to have mutual respect during your conversations and don’t look down on their interests, no matter how silly you may secretly find them.
Staying on top of your children’s online activity is very important in today’s world. As parents, sometimes there’s not much we can do but talk to our kids and make sure they’re staying safe. Also, it is very important to lead by example and use technology together. Make sure to connect with other parents too, since they can give you some new ideas on parenting and provide a great support system.
By Peter Minkoff