Digital Parenting is challenging due to the constant changes in technology, apps and games. Kids seem to have a better understanding on smartphones and tablets than their parents.
Millienial parents have the challenge of having to keep on top of things such as social media and cyber security in order to protect their children in the digital world.
Today’s parents will have to learn different online skills and also be able to live in the virtual world their children are a part off.
If parents are not aware of the latest digital trends, they will find it hard to safeguard their children from cyber crimes that can potentially effect their child’s mental health and well-being.
Parents cannot afford to be non-tech savy when raising tech-savy generation.
Here are few ways to help parent in the digital age :
1.Start with learning
I remember when I was pregnant I read a few parenting books to prepare myself for motherhood. Some of those books gave me a form of guidance even though not every aspect of parenting can be laid out in a book. The same principle applies in digital parenting. You will need to make the effort to learn and educate yourself.
Non-tech savy Mums it is time to develop an interest in technologies, apps, sites and games that your children are interested in.
If your child is using a language you do not understand then Google it. To make it even easier for you , join the eparenting community and you can ask any questions you have to other parents.
Before allowing your child any app or games, review it first and spend some time exploring the app or games. This way you will know if the app is age-appropriate for your child.
2. Develop digital rules
Children don’t always like rules. But they are good in keeping things in check. This will help create a digital discipline in your child from a young age,
The rules would be regarding mobile phone usage, and gadgets to prevent screen addiction and keep them safe online.
For instance, no screen is allowed in the bedroom; no social media before the age of 13 years old; no mobile phones during dinner time; no games before chores are completed.
This will help prevent your child from being addicted to their gadgets and help them have a balanced offline and online lives.
3. Constant communication
Regular discussion with your child can give you an insight into what they are feeling and what they are interested in.
Ask them open-ended questions to gage what their thoughts are on certain issues. For instance, ask them what they will do if someone try to contact them online. You want to ensure that your children feel safe to talk to you in case they are in trouble in the real world or in their cyber life.
Do not forget to talk to them about the good things they can do with the internet. For instance, show them how other children have used technology to make a difference in the world. This may inspire your children to be innovators.
4. Use parental controls
On top of talking to your kids about online safety, you can download parental controls to help you monitor their online usage.
Parental controls can help make the internet a safer place for children and help you supervise their online behavior. You can block apps, set time limits, block inappropriate contents or sites and many more. It can also help protect your children from sexual predators and cyberbullies.
Even though children may be better at operating an Ipad, it does not mean they have the emotional intelligence to deal with some of the things they are exposed too on the internet. Hence, as parents you need to be able to guide them in this digital world they are growing up in.
The steps above will help you protect your children from some of the cruelties of the online world and help them exploit the many advantages the internet can offer to them.
Here are other tips to you keep children safe in the digital age :
Instagram : 3 Instagram safety tips for parents
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