I have read that according to a recent study, 2 out of 3 parents are completely unaware of their children’s activities using the internet. You might be thinking that kids can manage themselves and exploring is fine and that it’s something you encourage in your household. Like a corporate zombie, you then resume with your busy schedule, phone calls, meetings and you barely even have time for your kids anymore when you get home. I understand how this is becoming a rinse-and-repeat process as I am one of those corporate slaves too, but we are parents.
To punctuate more emphasis, we are RESPONSIBLE PARENTS.
Do you know who your child made friends with on Facebook? If your answer is NO, then start being extra vigilant. This is where digital parenting takes place. It’s practically placing parental control and being aware in all things that our children do over the internet.
We all want to be the best parents, raise our kids well and protect them from harm. However, for the most part, we have only been anxious of the dangers from the outside world. Have we ever thought that cyber-crime, bullying, abduction and child pornography can start in our home, right inside our children’s bedroom?
Quite alarming isn’t it?
It’s almost impossible to believe that Twitter, Facebook or Google were not around 20 years ago but the advancement of technology was so fast that anything can now be done in just a few clicks using compatible devices. I won’t deny the fact that our technology is an incredible tool for learning and boosting creativity but it’s also important for parents to understand not just the device but also the applications available to ensure that our kids are getting a great experience online.
Based on my own experience, I listed down useful tips for digital parenting:
1. Set boundaries – it could be a no-internet-zone in your house or a browsing curfew set after dinner. Just create an air of authority on this. I know kids will always be kids but it’s necessary for them to know the essence of responsible freedom as early as possible.
2. Security – Use site filters, check applications before installing them in any device, know the age requirement in these applications too. If you want to breathe a sigh of relief, Visible Internet is an awesome monitoring application for parents, too.
3. Moderation – Anything excessive is bad. Limit your kids’ usage of devices such as tablets and phones. Well, they don’t really need one of their own so let them borrow yours and as mentioned, set a time limit which is non-negotiable.
4. Talk to your kids and explain that digital devices are not toys – they are tools that make our lives convenient only if utilized the right way.
Kids will always imitate what they see so it’s important to be a role model in this endeavor and participate in their digital experience. Let your kids know your values and share how to see the world in a digital perspective.