Globe’s #makeITsafePH: Raising today’s children is a struggle between being their best friends and being their parents. We all want to give them the best experiences but it can be hard to decide when to be lenient and when to be firm to them. It is important to keep this parent-child relationship healthy. One venue that most parents find most difficult is regulating their children’s use of gadgets, screens and the way they easily manipulate technology. The digital era is pretty much amazing, but we know there are dangers lurking everywhere too.
While we were growing up, the digital world is not yet that prominent and our parent’s only concern is when we spend too much time watching television. We cannot exactly duplicate their methods of handling our TV time to the way kids today are spending their time on mobile phones, gadgets and the computer. The only way for us to handle this is to discover our family’s personal needs. Here are some tips to help you come up with your own set of standards in effective parenting in the digital age.
Bond with your Children More
Kids today prefer to chat with friends, play games, explore the internet and spend plenty of time on their mobile devices. This is often because it is the only thing available to entertain them. Parents who seek more of their child’s company, get more attention and feel well-loved are very willing to unplug and spend time with their parents. Consider hobbies that you can do together such as cooking, baking, board games, and other real-world activities. How about football, basketball or other ball games. Its a nice bonding for parents and children. No matter how busy you are, make time for them, so they’d be willing to let go of their devices.
Be Firm, You are not the “Bad Guy”
When you tell your kids to stop screen time, be firm and hold your ground even if they start throwing a fit. They may think you are the meanest mom or dad ever but they will respect you later on. Children will not be always happy with their parent’s decision, so acknowledge their frustrations and comfort them. Impose limits and do not be fearful of your children.
Be the Role Model
How you deal with your mobile devices, spend time on your computer or on the television will only be duplicated by your children. It is good that you suggest that they go outside, play and unplug, but you should also be there leading the way. Once your kids notice that you enjoy doing things that do not require a gadget, they will be more willing to try out and do the same.
Make Screen Time your Together Time
Parents can still encourage social interaction and bonding through co-playing, co-viewing and co-engaging others while they are using devices. Play video games and let them win sometimes. Model positive attitude and sportsmanship whatever happens in the game. Watch their favorite shows with them and share your perspectives and experiences. Try to interact with your kids so that you can also understand what they are doing and you are part of their circle too.
Assign Tech-Free Zones
Keep certain areas of the house tech-free such as the kids’ bedrooms, meal times, and gatherings. Ensure that they charge devices outside their bedroom to avoid temptation of using them before bedtime or upon waking up. Turn off television when no one is watching. These small changes will help encourage better sleep, healthier eating habits and better family time.
Teach your Children About the Importance of Privacy and Dangers of Online Predators
And last but not least be sure to #makeITsafePH. Children should be constantly reminded that content once placed online may never be deleted completely and it can easily be accessed by strangers. Teach them to avoid sharing inappropriate content which could harm future opportunities for them. Make sure that they also understand that there are sex offenders lurking in chat rooms, social network sites, virtual reality games and online communities. Teach them to never trust strangers online especially with personal information.