Are you aware of your kids digital life? As a parent, you have a dilemma. On the one hand, you realize that your kids live in a digital age and that connectivity is a good thing. On the other hand, how do you control your child’s access to today’s technology—most importantly, your kids’ cell phone? It’s natural to be curious about what they’re using it for.
Parents who don’t want to deal with this balancing act may fit in the following categories:
- No phone for you!
- The phone’s all yours, go nuts.
While neither approach is ideal for you or your kids, there are countless others who face this dilemma.
Technology is coming at you and your child at such a fast pace that both of you have to adapt quickly. That being said, you didn’t have an iPad or smartphone in your adolescence like kids do today. Watch a two-year-old engaging in a game on a tablet, smartphone, or iPad, and their enjoyment level is evident. More often than not they are the ones providing free tech support! Knowing that you lag behind in this ever-changing digital world can be a bit scary.
Stay Positive About Your Kids Digital Life
One of the best ways parents can confront their uneasiness about kids and their digital life is by focusing on the positive aspects of this technology, as opposed to limiting their access to it. Like it or not, they will find ways to get around restrictions. Remember, they’re the savvy ones here.
An easier approach is to remember what it was like to be a kid. We didn’t like restrictions much either, and we reacted best when our parents were approachable and patient. You may try looking at the implications of social media in a new light; allowing your kids access to the internet in the safety of your home opens the door for honest communication and effective parental guidance. Plus, social media interaction prepares them for what lies ahead. It provides many positive learning opportunities that will benefit them when college and the workforce roll around. Remember, technology is merely a tool. What matters is how you use it.
Open the Lines of Communication
Open up and talk to your kids about why they enjoy their device. If you are advocating open communication, nurturing your digital relationship with them, and abstaining from judgment – you may be surprised at how much you learn about your kids. Try asking them what they would do if they received a call from someone they didn’t know. What is the last thing your kids learned from their phone? Now, talk about it! Ask your kids what their favorite apps are, and why. Actively engaging in their digital world make any signs of danger easy to detect early on. As you get a feel for the nature of your kids’ digital behaviors, you can assess their “digital maturity” and establish guidelines that work for the whole family; including yourself.
Take Part In Your Kids Digital Life
Being aware of your kids’ digital life is not merely about knowing what’s happening, but actively taking part in that part of their world. Be their friend on Facebook. Share ideas with your kids on Pinterest. Use Snapchat to send them loving and fun messages. By nature of nurturing your digital relationship with your kids, you are given opportunities to exemplify responsible online behavior.
How do you manage your kids digital life? Share your experience with others in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you.