The Art of Digital Parenting: Have You Mastered It Yet?
How old was your child when he or she first held an iPhone or swiped a sticky finger across your tablet? Kids are embracing technology at earlier and earlier ages, meaning parents need to master the art of digital parenting sooner rather than later.
Remember that there will come a time when you won’t be able to constantly look over your child’s shoulder. One day, he’ll have his own phone or tablet (or both!), so be sure to begin teaching digital safety from an early age.
While there may not be a single best approach to parenting in a high-tech world, there are certainly some habits you can embrace to make the journey to safe and responsible tech use a bit easier!
Be a Good Digital Role Model
Kids learn by example from a very early age, so be sure that your behavior is sending the right message. Is your obsession with Candy Crush or Facebook keeping you from making eye contact with your child? Do you text while eating, talking to a friend, or (gasp!) driving? Asking yourself these and other similar questions can help you determine what your tech use is telling your kids and whether you need to tweak the message!
Choose Educational Apps
Although research shows that kids prefer mindless games, we parents know that what they want isn’t always what’s best for them. While a few minutes playing Angry Birds certainly won’t spoil a kid for life, it's best that children spend most of their screen time engaged in high-quality, educational media. The best apps are the ones that engage kids in higher order thinking skills such as logic, problem solving, and critical thinking while making learning fun.
Teach Digital Safety
Remember that there will come a time when you won’t be able to constantly look over your child’s shoulder. One day, he’ll have his own phone or tablet (or both!), so be sure to begin teaching digital safety from an early age. Talking to kids about online privacy, netiquette, and advertising among other online safety issues while they’re still little can have a significant impact on their online behaviors as they enter adolescence, and as online threats become more serious.