Raising Children in the Digital Age - 3 Top Tips


The children of today are commonly referred to as “digital natives”, growing up having been exposed to screens and technology for much of their lives and, in fact, probably a time where they cannot life without internet access at all!

In contrast, the current generation of parents are often known as “digital immigrants” - those who may not have grown up using technology, but who have been part of the first generation to see tech move from a novelty to a fundamental part of how the world works. Digital immigrants are often comfortable with technology, but not quite to the point that their children may be. So in this post I'm going to be sharing three pieces of advice, to hopefully bridge that gap between the two.

#1 - Provide full online safety advice

The fact that modern children grow up around technology, does not mean that they instinctively know how to stay safe online. It’s always worth discussing safe measures such as being cautious about potential fraud, and similar 'stay safe' advice, such as installing parental controls on any device they use. Fab apps such as the Sky Kids app or Youtube Kids are designed especially with little ones in mind (and should be much safer places than other apps).

#2 - Be willing to ask for assistance

Conventionally, the bestowal of knowledge in a parent-child relationship is one-way, from parent to child - but when it comes to anything related to technology, your children's input can be hugely helpful. If you find yourself having issues setting up a smart speaker, then they actually may be able to help you out; and if you’re making the transition from PC to Mac and need to pull up the task manager, they can direct you to resources such as this and help to familiarise you with the new setup. Not only does this help you on a practical level, but being able to assist a parent can also be a nice self-esteem boost for your child.

#3 - Find a 'screen time' balance that works for your family

The potential impact of 'screen time' on children is an ongoing issue, as there are numerous arguments about whether the screen time itself is inherently harmful, or whether the connection is more related to associated behaviours - for example, children who use screens more tend to be more sedentary and prone to snacking, and these behaviours are the problem rather than the screens. Finding a way through this confusion can be difficult, so it can be helpful to use a multi-pronged approach: read through the existing guidelines here and keep these in mind when deciding how much screen time is appropriate for your children, but also monitor the news for further research in this important area.

This is a collaborative post.

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