However much or little we engage with technology as adults, we have to accept that for our children, technology is here to stay and is a key part of their lives. Here are some top tips on how to ensure your guidance as a parent meets the requirements of our digital era.
1. Let your children know you will be involved – It’s important to let them know and understand why you have to interfere on their digital engagements – to safeguard their well-being.
2. Establish limits, routines and guidelines – Limits can range from restricting their screen time to the types of websites they are allowed to open. Provide them with the proper guidelines in setting up their social media accounts. The internet does not have to be a total free for all.
3. Learn technology skills together – You need to understand their online tools and activity in order to be an effective digital mentor. This is no time to be techno-phobic and who knows you might just learn something useful.
4. Encourage your kids to talk openly about their online experiences. Honest exchange allows you to quickly tackle questions, issues or problems should they arise.
5. Make them understand that you have a certain set of beliefs and principles that may differ from the Internet and other people The Internet is a melting pot of ideas, beliefs and opinions some of which your children will be exposed to. Give them a framework within which to be open minded about the ideas they encounter.
6. Develop your child’s resilience to the threats and challenges of the Internet. Technology empowers bullying as much as it empowers self confidence. Tell them that online judgements are far from reality.
7. Ensure that your children’s digital engagement does not restrict their physical activities and personal interactions with other people. As with all things in life, it’s about balance.
8. Use parental control software. For children, the Internet is tempting. Block those unnecessary sites before they can even be able to launch them.
9. Explain to them that they should not believe everything they see on the Internet From fake news to modified images to seemingly ‘perfect’ lives on social media – it’s important to help them become sophisticated in spotting whats real and whats not.
10. Set as a good example. Follow your own rules. Most of the time, your children follow what you do more than what you say.