Parenting in this digital age is both challenging and exciting.
The digital era is here to stay, so we need to prepare our children for their digital future.
But how? How do we balance the benefits of technology with its risks? How do we help them learn how to be kind, safe and respectful online?
The answer lies in applying some simple principles of parenting.
The digital era is here to stay
The digital era is here to stay, and as parents, we need to accept that. The sooner you realise this and start preparing your child for the world of social media and gaming, the better chance you have at helping them navigate it safely.
Not only do we all live in a digital world now; we are also constantly connected through smartphones, tablets, computers, and TVs. This means that children have access to unlimited information at all times through their devices—and often this information can come from both trustworthy sources and not-so-trustworthy ones (such as strangers).
As a parent, it's important that you understand how these devices work so that you can help your child navigate them properly while teaching them about the potential risks or benefits associated with each type of technology they use.
Prepare young children for their digital future
There's no doubt that children are growing up in a digital world, and we need to prepare them for it.
As they learn digital skills, we should help them develop those skills as these could come in handy as they progress in their learning and in life.
And as they use digital devices, we should help them use those devices safely – which involves a good knowledge of acceptable online behaviour.
Use media and technology as a pathway, not a crutch
Consider how you can use media and technology as a pathway to give your children more opportunities to learn and grow.
You can use the internet to help your child develop their learning skills by giving them simple educational websites that teach reading, math or science. You can also keep an eye out for videos or articles that are educational in nature and share these with your child.
Set limits on technology and media use
To set limits, consider where your child is in the digital age. For example, a young toddler may be just beginning to learn and experience the world, so the use of technology and digital media should be kept at a minimum or held back.
Technology can be introduced as a tool, with limits on screen time. As your child gets older and are more capable, they'll need to develop their own self-discipline around digital media use. Use timers or apps that show how much time has passed: some devices have built-in limiters, such as Google's Family Link app for Android phones.
Use in balance with other types of play and learning
Play is the primary avenue for learning in early childhood. It’s through playing with others or alone, and through exploring their world that children learn about themselves and their environment.
Play also helps develop language, math, social skills, motor skills, problem-solving abilities, creativity and imagination.
That being said, there are ways to use technology in moderation so that it supplements other types of playtime instead of taking over all the fun! With these tips on how to incorporate smartphones into your family's daily routine without sacrificing other activities like reading or outdoor playtime together.
Moderation is key!
In the end, I think it’s important to remember that there is no substitute for human interaction. Technology can be great, but it’s always best when we use it in balance with other types of play and learning.