The digital age has brought us a myriad of benefits in many aspects of our life. However, at the same time, it has also made some things more difficult. One of the things which have been highly affected by the boom of technology is parenting. Good parenting is essential as it has smart, kind and well-behaved people for results. And these people make the world a better place. So, what can you as a parent do to teach your children some values and how to handle technology? This is something to think about, as we can’t ignore the technology and all effects it has upon all of us. Instead, we need to learn how to deal with it in the right way.
As already mentioned, technology affects many aspects of our lives such as the use and presence of media, playtime and face-to-face communication. Parents should be aware of these effects, so they would be able to adjust their parenting style. Parents should also act as role models and show children on their own example the right way to use tech. It has become a trend to use tech as an emotional pacifier – parents should strive to change this behaviour. Instead, parents should do their research and find suitable apps for their children to use for a designated amount of time.
The media effects
We can’t ignore the media in our surroundings – they exist and we need to learn how to use them appropriately. If used in the right way, the media can bring about plenty of benefits. However, if used inappropriately, they can have detrimental effects. The media should work for you, in line with the parenting styles and values you wish to teach your children. Experts suggest making a so-called media plan, according to which you’ll set rules related to media use.
If we don’t set boundaries, and children end up spending a lot of time using the media, there are inevitably going to be some consequences. These consequences reflect in communication skills, playtime, outdoor play, off time and sleep. You need to be involved in the process at all times. You should know what websites and platforms your children use online as well as who they socialize both live and online. Additionally, as many kids today have ADHD, this is also one thing to have in mind when it comes to parenting, the use of tech and generally the lifestyle. You need to help your ADHD child learn how to organize its room and how to use tech appropriately.
The effects on playtime
Young kids understand only what you say to them and the rules you set. If there are no rules, they can get out of control and later on, when they grow up, it’s difficult to change that. That’s why yo should be mindful of the things you teach your children and the right digital age to do so. You should limit the use of media, like any other activity. Children need to learn to play offline as it sparks creativity. Make sure to designate some unplugged playtime every day after picking up your children from the all day child care centre. The world needs creative minds who are able to use technology to their advantage.
Parents as role models
Parents are the best role models for children. Children see and notice everything, even the things you aren’t aware of. So, you must be careful about the behaviours you display as children absorb that. They consider your behaviour to be the right one and the way they should also behave. You should teach your children good manners online. Limit your online time to show them how it should be. In that way, both you and they can feel closer to each other, you’ll have better communication and interaction. Hug them often and play with them off-screen.
The effects on face-to-face communication
The sole use of technology without any face-to-face communication at a young age can have serious consequences on children’s social and communicative skills. In order to develop their language skills, you should frequently engage in talk time. If a parent is away or grandparents live away, of course, you can and should engage in virtual communication. That is one of the benefits of the digital age. Passive listening or one-way screen communication affects developing language skills far less than a real conversation.
The trend of using tech as an emotional pacifier
Some new trends have emerged in the digital age, one of them being using tech as an emotional pacifier. What does this exactly mean? Well, many parents resort to giving a phone to their child in order to calm it down. But this is in fact completely wrong. Think about the past and how you were raised. Did your parents use a phone to calm you down and stop you from crying? No. Perhaps they used other things, but probably to a lesser extent. So, what you should do is try to find another tech-free way to calm your child down. This is more difficult, obviously than giving your child the phone to play with or watch something. However, we as parents need to engage and devote ourselves to our children completely.
Kid-friendly apps and their online presence
We come to the conclusion that tech is omnipresent in our life and instead of forbidding it completely, we should learn how to live with it. There are some great apps your children can use and actually benefit. Do your research, find the apps and teach your children how to use them. Of course, limit their time online. Learn more about the different ages and suitable apps to use. Also, remember to create tech-free zones in your home.
Every time period has its perks and downsides. We need to give our best in order to use every time period to our advantage. That is entirely up to us.