We interpret technology way differently than our children do, which is understandable considering the way that technology has changed over the last few decades. Children today are being born into a world where technology is being used almost 24/7.
On the other hand, many parents spent the first few years of their lives communicating with their friends offline – totally unfathomable to children and youth today.
Digital parenting is a relatively new concept that emerged as parents come to terms with the fact that technology is here to stay. It involves supporting, understanding, regulating, and mediating children’s use of technology.
Positive digital parenting allows us to stay in touch with how our children our conducting themselves in the digital world.
In this article, we will describe steps we can take in order to be positive digital parents and ensure our children are using their devices in ways that are effective, respectful, and safe.
Understanding Positive Digital Parenting
Positive digital parenting means empowering children to use technology responsibly and safely. We can set them up for success by helping them understand the consequences of what they do when they go online.
In this way, we can provide them with the skills that they need for today and tomorrow. Positive digital parenting is an ongoing process that will evolve and change with the technology around us.
As we educate our children, we need to make sure that we learn about the newest apps that children are using, how technology is being used in the classroom, and also potential scams that are circulating.
Building a Positive Digital Home
Maintaining a positive digital home is a family responsibility, and there are things we can do to make sure that everyone is on the same page. First off, lay out some ground rules for technology use in your home.
Family Rules in a Positive Digital Home:
- Ask parents before downloading apps.
- Do not change passwords.
- Never share your address or credit card information.
- Do not share pictures of anyone without their permission.
Check up on your children’s devices regularly to make sure that they are following the rules. If you find that they aren’t following the rules, remind them of how important it is to stay safe, and you may need to remove certain apps until they show you that they can use them safely.
Positive digital parenting also means ensuring that there is a balance between online and offline socializing and activities.
You can create fun, tech-free zones in your home that stimulate children’s minds in ways that don’t involve technology. Find what inspires them, whether it’s scientific experiments or art projects that will encourage independent exploration.
Modeling Positive Digital Behavior
In order to be a positive digital parent, we need to make sure that we are modeling positive digital behavior. We need to follow our own rules and examine our own use of technology as critically as our child’s.
We can encourage healthy and positive digital habits through our actions. Keep communication open, and talk to your children often about digital safety in ways that are empowering, rather than condescending.
Talk openly about what’s okay and what isn’t, and ask your children about what cool new tech-savvy skills they’re developing at school. Chances are that they can teach us a thing or two!
Educating Your Children About Technology
As parents, it is our role to ensure that our children are good digital citizens. We need to constantly reinforce the idea that what they do online can follow them around for a lifetime.
When we post a picture online, for instance, it is not only our own friends and contacts who see it. Even the strictest privacy settings may not protect us, and our children need to understand that.
It is perfectly normal for children to be naive to the fact that what is being presented to us online may not be true, and that a person contacting them may not be who they say they are. It is also normal for our children to think to believe that we don’t know what we’re talking about because of how technology has evolved.
Show them some evidence, without scaring them.
Let them know that there have been studies and news stories about scams and that you are just trying to protect them.
Staying Informed and Engaged
As positive digital parents, we need to stay current and up-to-date with our knowledge of technology. Children are being introduced to new technologies in the classroom, and we can stay on top of the game by researching the latest developments and how they may be used to enhance your child’s learning.
Knowing what new gadgets may come your way will also help you understand the potential risks they may pose. It’s perfectly understandable, if something may come up that is beyond your knowledge. It is perfectly okay to talk to staff at your child’s school or other community members if you are unsure of something.
In today’s world, positive digital parenting is a necessary approach. It fosters open and comfortable family relationships and helps you be involved in your child’s activities online.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, so please know that you do not need to do this on your own.
Many parents feel intimidated by the ways their children are using technology, and that’s okay. Do not feel discouraged, and ask for help when you need it. We are in this together!
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