Social media and other digital platforms have shown significant involvement in our lives lately. Digital platforms serve as sources of entertainment, virtual meeting places for friends, or learning tools. However, some find that media becomes all-consuming, stressful, or unsafe.
Researchers have identified effective ways of parenting practices to help kids navigate the ever-changing digital world. Such tips ensure that a child’s media use remains a healthy and safe way to connect with others.
Tips For Incorporating Technology Into Parenting Practices
With these tips for incorporating technology into parenting practices, it becomes easier for parents to inculcate healthy digital habits among children.
1. Family Media Plan
A family media plan balances time with and without devices. In this regard, it can be said that we should work together to set rules about media use. Such a plan will be highly beneficial as you and your children agree on how devices fit into your lives. Also, you should discuss tech-free activities with the family members and make time for them regularly.
2. Screen-free Times And Places
Create screen-free times and places such as meals and bedtime. In addition, one of the things you can do is set do-not-disturb on phones for an undistracted time. For younger children, ensure that you create consistent and predictable media routines and time limits. Besides, the built-in timers can be beneficial to make it easier for young children to transition away when time is up.
3. Present Yourself As A Good Role Model
Model kindness and good manners online. Children are great mimics, and so to become a role model to your children, first of all, you need to limit your own media use. Be more available and connected with your children rather than simply staring at a screen.
4. Face-to-Face Communication
Value face-to-face communication. Young children learn best through two-way communication. There’s a need to Engage in back-and-forth “talk time” for language development. Conversations can be face-to-face or video chat. “back-and-forth conversation” improves language skills— and is highly beneficial than “passive” listening or one-way interaction with a screen.
5. Technology Shouldn’t Be An Emotional Pacifier
While parenting in the digital age, what’s compulsory to follow is that you shouldn’t use technology as an emotional pacifier. Media keeps kids calm and quiet, but don’t settle for it as the only way they learn to calm down.
Children should grow up with the capability of identifying and handling strong emotions. So, as a parent, you need to incorporate activities to manage boredom or calm down and find other strategies for channeling emotions.
6. Apps For Kids
These days, plenty of apps have been labeled educational, but little research has demonstrated their actual quality. “Interactive” apps require more than “pushing and swiping.” So before you allow the children to use the apps, review the age-appropriate apps, games, and programs to guide them in making the best choices.
7. Your Teen CAN Be Online – It’s Okay
There’s nothing wrong with allowing your teen to be online. Online relationships have now become part of typical adolescent development. Parents need to understand that social media can support teens in exploring and discovering more about themselves. But you need to see that the teen behaves appropriately in both the real and online worlds.
Inculcate in your child the belief that the platform’s privacy settings do not make things actually “private.” Also, let them know that the images, thoughts, and behaviors they share online will instantly become a part of their digital footprint indefinitely. You should keep the lines of communication open and ask them to talk to you without fear when they have questions or concerns.
8. Kids Make Mistakes Using Media
Kids will be kids, and it’s pretty common for parents to witness their children making mistakes using media. It’s important to handle errors with empathy. Also, you should always attempt to turn a mistake into a teachable moment.
However, if you observe your child involved in sexting, bullying, or posting self-harm images, you should be cautious. These are red flags that hint at trouble ahead. Regardless of how tough it gets, you should closely examine your child’s behaviors.
9. Encourage Collaborative Learning
Cooperative learning serves as an effective way to introduce technology to children while developing social and emotional skills. Let children use technology to collaborate with friends on projects or homework. Such a habit will develop teamwork and communication skills while building technical knowledge.
10. Allow Age-appropriate Technology
Using age-appropriate technology when introducing children to technology is highly beneficial. For younger children, the best option is to use a tablet or an educational game that focuses on developing motor skills and hand-eye coordination. When you observe your children getting older, introduce them to more complex software and hardware to develop more advanced technical skills.
11. Talk about Social Media
Regular, open-minded conversations about their media use and yours will help develop meaningful discussions! Ensure that your kids know about experiences online. Also, assure them that you are available for support through challenges.
Let children understand what’s real and what’s edited. Also, you should play the role of explaining to them how to recognize ads or inappropriate content. Help them understand when influencers are being authentic versus outrageous.
12. Check Settings
When your child, especially an adolescent, starts a new social media or video game account, you should go through the set privacy settings and set them at the most secure level. Discuss safety rules and how to report problematic posts. Get familiar with how the platform works.
Introducing technology to children in this digital era is a must. But it is equally important to do that responsibly and appropriately. Following the tips mentioned above will ensure that parents can ensure children develop digital literacy, technical skills, and digital citizenship while staying safe and healthy. Also, it is beneficial to always tell them to use age-appropriate technology and provide guidance to children.
Introducing technology to children in a thoughtful manner helps parents raise their children to develop the technical skills and knowledge to thrive in the digital age. The right guidance and support allow children to use technology to explore and grow while developing social and emotional skills.