There’s no need to outline the huge juggling act that parents are faced with on a monthly, weekly, daily and often hourly basis when it comes to managing family life. Adding technology, social media and time spent online into that mix certainly creates additional challenges. With secondary school students now finished school for the summer the challenge of managing the use of technology can be an even bigger one. Our blog this week offers some tips to help you develop and maintain your digital parenting style.
Do your own research: With the myriad of apps and online games available it can be a challenge to keep up with what your child or teenager is interested in. If you hear your child talking about a new app or game do some research on it yourself. This will assist you in having conversations with your child and help you in building your awareness of new developments in the world of apps and games.
Remember to actively mediate with your child: At Zeeko we promote active mediation when it comes to communicating with a child about their use of the internet. Active mediation essentially means ensuring that your child knows it is ok to come to you to talk about what they are experiencing online, without fear that they will be punished. Active mediation is particularly important when it comes to the use of the internet because children and indeed teens can encounter situations such as witnessing a cyberbullying incident while online and will need to feel secure in being able to discuss this with you without fear of sanction.
Do your best not to confiscate: Parents can often confiscate or ban the use of digital devices as a form of punishment. This is rarely, if ever, effective and in some cases can lead to children using digital devices in other people’s homes or borrowing smartphones from friends to access the internet. It is human nature that if something is banned, it becomes more intriguing!
Create a healthy online/offline balance: Ultimately children learn through observation. If you want your child to have a healthy relationship with the digital world then you will need to be a good role model. For example, where screentime is concerned, if you are constantly on a digital device or regularly on screens late at night then it is highly likely that your child will see this as normal and model this behaviour. In a broader sense make sure to regularly engage in family activities that do not include digital devices. Remind your child of the importance of communicating face to face with friends and relatives as opposed to doing so online.
Make staying safe online a regular conversation: At Zeeko we want to make talking about staying safe online an integral part of every Irish school and home. Reminding your child about the importance of protecting themselves when they are online is so important. If conversations are regular and open in relation to online safety this is bound to build confidence and better equip your child for challenges they may encounter in the digital world.
Digital parenting is undoubtedly a challenge, but one we know Irish parents are keen to master!