Technology is a huge part of modern life. Everyone’s got a smart phone or tablet, and it seems like internet access is never more than a click away. This is the environment in which your children are growing up and one that most parents just aren’t sure how to deal with quite yet. Fortunately, you don’t have to be terrified of raising your child in the digital age. If you’re willing to take a deep breath and keep a level head, you’ll find that you can navigate a tech-savvy world with just a bit of effort. Below are a few tips to help you understand the interactions between your children and tech.
Do Your Homework
Do you really know what kinds of technology your children are using? Do you know the most popular websites or games? If not, you’re operating in the dark and you’ll be likely to make poor decisions. You can’t take what the media says at face value – you’ve got to get in there and find out for yourself. If you aren’t tech savvy now, make sure to educate yourself before your child overtakes your ability to help him or her. The more you know, the better the position you’ll be in later.
Don’t Ban Devices
One of the most common knee-jerk reactions to the use of technology is to ban it. This is, of course, a major mistake on several levels. Not only does banning a technology make it more attractive to a child, but it eliminates all the positive benefits of the technology’s use. In today’s world, you can’t just make the internet disappear – it’s always there, and your child will use it. It’s better than you help your child find a way to interact with technology that is healthy than to have them learn about it from someone else.
Be A Good Role Model
Don’t be a hypocrite! Parents are huge technology users, and children tend to learn their habits at home. If you want your child to be less obsessed with their technological devices, you might want to take some time to look at how you interact with technology. Can you conduct a conversation without using your phone? Do you spend all your free time on social media sites? If you can’t be a good role model for the use of technology, how can you expect more out of your child?
Be Aware of the Positives
Technology isn’t just the boogeyman that some media sources make it out to be. In fact, there are many benefits that can be derived from letting your child have some screen time. Did you know, for example, there are some great videos out there that can teach drawing for kids? There are also fantastic tools and videos that can help students to better understand their school subjects, embrace their creativity, or even learn a new language. It’s up to you to guide your children to these platforms, so make sure you do your homework about what’s out there.
Be A Parent
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to treat your child’s media use like any other part of his or her life. That means staying engaged, setting rules, and realizing that you need to have constant conversations with your child about what’s expected and what is forbidden. It might seem easier to either take a hands-off approach or make a blanket ban, but the truth is that your child’s media usage is just another part of his or her life. If you remain engaged, he or she will become a responsible digital media user.
You are the person who will not only introduce your child to technology but also the person who will set the tone for your child’s relationship with devices and digital media. Approach this responsibility not with fear, but with a proper sense of gravity. You are helping your child take his or her first steps into a much bigger world, so make sure that he or she has the support that he or she requires. Technology can be great – you just need to figure out how to help your child interact with it in the right way.