What Is a Good Digital Parent?Parents want their children to grow up to be responsible and reliable adults. Raising a kid in the digital age comes with its challenges. And they might not even be obvious to parents because of the generation gap and the leaps in social media.Trends in technology have a high turnover, as what was cool a decade or two ago (think MySpace) has given way to new generations of social media, like TikTok. But if parents have an overall grasp of how to keep their kids accountable.It doesn’t matter how the trends change, as a solid ethical education will weather the shifting tides of technological trends.Kids start developing a sense of right and wrong as early as two or three years of age. They model the behaviour of their parents and the others around them as they learn how to relate to other people and develop their communication skills.Technology can even be your ally in this regard, as you can choose media to help you to model good values for your child. Getting into positive habits will make your job even easier down the line.As kids get older and develop greater independence, there’s more opportunity for them to dip into questionable behaviour online,where it’s also tougher for adult figures to monitor what they’re doing.That goes for phones, too, and the temptation to text and surf the Internet at inappropriate times. Or use their devices irresponsibly can be very high as they become especially aware of their social status among their peers.Instead of fearing this situation as an obstacle, everyone will enjoy it so much more if you look at it as a learning opportunity. Perfection won’t come at first, and your kid is bound to make some mistakes as they navigate the wide world of social media and instantaneous communication. But they’ll learn from them quickly. Kids learn better when they make mistakes rather than just being told what to do.Check out the following pointers for a few more ideas to keep in mind as your child starts growing up and testing the waters of responsibilities in the digital age!
1- Keep The Lines Of Communication Open
Adolescents are exposed to an infinite variety of materials when they’re surfing the Internet or using social media. To assist them in filtering the information that they expose to, ask them about it. It’s also a good idea to keep the lines of communication open about their identities online – are they different online than they are in person?Many people will engage in conduct online that they never would IRL (“in real life”), which can lead to extreme behaviour. Another possibility is to ask them how they would behave in certain scenarios so that they’ll be ready when faced with situations where they’ll need to make ethical decisions.
2- Model Good Behaviour
Let your kids know that using social media responsibly is not only beneficial to others but also rewarding for you. Be sure to limit your own “screen time,” too, so that your kids can appreciate how important it is to interact with others face-to-face.
3- Choose Your Media Wisely
While your child is just starting to get the hang of technology, be sure to emphasize movies and television series that showcase positive relational skills. These types of films or shows will demonstrate the advantages of gratitude, compassion, and communication.To drive home these positive messages, discuss them with your kid. Talking through these issues will help kids to get a better sense of right and wrong. And, most importantly, ask you questions and become actively engaged in their ethical development.
4- Emphasize Family Over Technology
Social media addiction can make it difficult for young people to understand how to communicate with others by de-emphasizing the role of technology in their lives. You can make certain that they will develop the social skills that will be essential to their professional and personal success later in life.Enforce “screen-free” times and spaces in your household to make sure technology has a backseat role in your lives.
5- Share Media that Showcases Positive Behaviour
It’s worth noting again that technology doesn’t have to be the enemy – there’s plenty of material out there that foregrounds responsible behaviour, accountability, and compassion. Chat with other parents in real life or online to swap tips with each other on what kids like and what kinds of shows, and which personalities communicate the values that you want to instill in your children.
6- Encourage Good Behaviour through Praise and Positive Reinforcement
When you witness good sportsmanship or when your child is compassionate or helpful, be sure that your kid understands that this is praiseworthy.Many parents are readier to reward their students for more overt accomplishments like winning a race or getting the highest grade in the class than they are for acknowledging less competitive but more compassionate attitudes.Let your kids know that life isn’t all about winning; if they learn that being the best isn’t so important, they will be more inclined to be more helpful toward others.
7- Set Limits for Screen Time and Stick to Them
Provide your child with limits for their screen time just as you do for other things in their day-to-day lives, like sweets, bedtime, playtime, and school responsibilities.Just as they learn to adapt to the limits that you set in other aspects of their experience, they’ll adjust to the parameters you set regarding the amount of time that they are allowed to use their devices and what programs and platforms they may use.Just as certain privileges are for adults alone, they can easily learn that there are certain internet sites and uses of technology that are not designed for kids’ usage or only to a limited extent.
8- Don’t Always Make Screen Time Alone Time
By viewing materials, navigating sites, and even playing video games with your kids, you’re encouraging social interaction and, in so doing, ensuring that screen time is not an isolating activity.If you watch a show with your kids, for example, you can take the opportunity to contribute your commentary and share your own life experiences and guidance. As you interact with kids, you’re stepping down from just playing a supervisory role and participating actively in the activity with them.Even playing video games gives you a great chance to model and discuss how to play fairly and responsibly. By not treating technology as a forbidden fruit or a reward for other good behaviour but rather as something that you can share. You will encourage your child to have a healthier relationship with technology and foster their social skills.
9- Educate Your Kids About Cyberbullying
Prevention is the best medicine – and this goes for cyberbullying and other unacceptable online behaviours, too.To educate your kids about cyberbullying, one of the most effective measures you can take is to teach them how to identify it so they can stop it immediately, whether they or one of their peers is the target.Studies show that when kids can understand what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, plus how to respond to any red flags, the rates of bullying decrease.Let your kid know that you will support them in standing up to cyberbullying and that you, along with community and school members. They are available to answer their questions and help them to confront any cyberbullies so that they and their schoolmates feel safe both online and in their everyday environments.
10- Create Technology-Free Areas In Your House
These days, technology is everywhere around us, from the PowerPoints and overheads that teachers might use in their classrooms to the phones that are constantly buzzing in our pockets and the GPS telling our cars where to go.You might even have Alexa set up in your house for playing music or ordering items over the Internet.Give your kid a chance to have a tech-free environment by setting up a space in your home where there are no screens or devices. Also, turn off devices that aren’t being used so there’s no ongoing temptation to use them.Studies have shown that people sleep better in areas where devices have been shut off. So if it’s possible to do so, keep your kid’s bedroom free of devices when it’s time to go to sleep. That allows them to disconnect while they’re asleep, too.
As previously mentioned, one of the biggest favours you can do for yourself or your kids is to remember that they will make mistakes.Certain behaviours, such as cyberbullying or sending outcries for help, require serious attention and perhaps even help from a professional. However, for lighter mistakes, keep in mind that it’s always helpful to be forgiving.Why not treat them as opportunities for learning rather than punishment? Remember: a lot of this is new to your kid, too!
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