With technology rapidly advancing and becoming an integral part of our everyday lives, keeping our children safe and protected online is becoming more and more challenging.
Technology and digitalization can be a double-edged sword when raising children. In this digital era we live in, we need to know how to strike a balance and set boundaries since avoiding technology is no longer an option.
As parents and caregivers, it’s our job to find ways to teach our children about technology and the Internet. We need to teach them healthy technology habits, responsible online behavior, the advantages of digital tools, and how to navigate the digital world confidently.
This won’t be an easy job, but hopefully, with this little guide, you’ll be able to help your children embrace and navigate the digital era with ease.
Today, our children are exposed to technology from the moment they are born. That’s why we need to learn how to set boundaries early on. Digital parenting is not easy but if we learn how to set boundaries for using tech and spending time online from the beginning, raising children in the digital era will be much easier.
Setting boundaries implies limiting screen time, the type of content children watch, as well as where and how they use the technology available to them.
You should let them know what will be the consequences of breaking those rules and boundaries you’ve set. Children must have rules and boundaries because young kids don’t know right from wrong and with these boundaries, we teach them.
Additionally, remember that you can’t completely forbid them from using technology or the internet. If you keep them away from using these, they will grow up into technologically illiterate individuals, which is not something you should do. Especially today, when technology is so integrated into our lives, and it will only continue to be so.
Lead By Example
We, as parents and caregivers, often forget that our children look up to us for everything. And that also includes digital behavior.
If your children see you aimlessly scrolling through your phone for hours, they will think this is normal and will do the same.
Similarly, you should use appropriate language and behavior when interacting online, don’t use or share other’s work without permission, obey online laws, and follow rules and codes of conduct. If you do all of this, your children, too, will try to emulate you.
For example, if they see you using your phone or laptop to find important or relevant information, they too will figure out how to use tech to find information they are interested in.
Create A Healthy Relationship With Tech
One of the most important things we should teach our kids is to have a healthy relationship with technology. Cultivating a healthy relationship with technology will help them understand that tech is a tool and not a substitute for a human connection.
Technology and the internet can be sources of many educational games, tools, and software designed for childhood education and skill development. However, while useful and educational, those games and tools aren’t enough for child development.
You also need to encourage your children to pursue offline games, hobbies, and activities.
If your children attend a child care centre, you’ll notice that educators there also put a lot of effort into creating a healthy relationship between children and tech. Using technology and the internet in child care centers can also teach children research skills while being supervised by their teachers. However, they also put a lot of accent on playing with other children, spending time in nature, and so on.
Teach Them How To Be Safe Online
Online safety is an important concept when raising children in a digital era. Tech and digital-savvy children should know how to behave online, how to handle cyberbullying, and avoid any potential online threats.
Children should also know how important it is to create strong passwords, they should know when they can share personal information and when not. The earlier they learn these things, the better because what children learn early on sticks with them throughout their lives.
Remember, it’s never too early to teach your child how to be safe online.
Encourage Critical Thinking
Critical thinking goes hand in hand with being safe online. The moment your child starts being aware of the world around them, you should encourage and teach them to start thinking critically and evaluating situations.
Critical thinking includes encouraging your children to solve problems, connect the dots between concepts, ask questions, and think creatively. Then, they can apply all that to realistic situations.
You can help them by giving them realistic situations and asking them what they would do. This is the best way to see how your child’s mind works, and how they think. You should help them make good judgments which will help them both in life and online.
Open Communication Is Crucial
Open communication is crucial to fostering a healthy relationship with your children. That’s why you should always encourage your children to talk to you. They should know that you’re the first person they should come to when they need to talk about anything.
This way, many bad things can be prevented from happening.
Open and positive communication means paying attention, respecting your child’s feelings, and paying attention to your tone of voice. When your child wants to talk with you, turn off phones, TVs, and other distractions and listen to them.
Monitor The Use Of Social Media
It’s never a bad idea to take extra precautions when it comes to social media. You might feel like you’ve done a great job teaching your child about cyberbullying and the danger that lurks online but being extra cautious is not a mistake.
Peer pressure and different trends make children tempted to do all kinds of things both online and offline. That’s why keeping an extra eye on what your child is doing on social media can be a smart thing to do.
Raising children has never been an easy job. And raising kids in the digital era has only become more challenging. There are new kinds of concerns and dangers to look out for and teach our kids to be aware of and prepared for.
That’s why it’s essential to teach our children how to safely navigate the digital era and all that it brings.