It’s no secret that raising children is not easy. You might wonder about the best way to raise kids in a world that embraces technology and internet usage. The answer is not simple, but there are steps you can take to parent your child and help them navigate the ever-changing digital landscape.
1. Learn How to Navigate the Internet
It’s hard to keep a firm grasp of your child’s safety online if you are unaware of modern technology. It is best to familiarize yourself with tablets, laptops, and smartphones so that you can learn how to navigate popular programs and apps for:
- Social media
- Video Content
- Gaming platforms
You can explore popular online destinations for children and teens. However, you can also enlist your child’s assistance. You can engage them in their online interests while developing your first-hand experiences online.
2. Be a Mentor and a Monitor
It is reasonable to expect good behaviour from your child regarding their internet usage. However, children sometimes need behavioural corrections such as monitoring their online activities.
Many electronic devices, apps, and platforms have parental controls that allow parents to track their children online. Monitoring helps ensure that your kid isn’t accessing mature content or engaging in harmful activities like online bullying. However, mentorship is just as important as being mindful of your child’s actions.
Watching your children too much can feel like an invasion of their privacy. The more it happens, the less likely your child is to be open and honest with you about their life. Many parents find it more helpful to act as mentors instead of monitors to teach trust and know when to correct children’s behaviours.
Good Parenting Also Means Having Life Insurance
Get quotes in minutes and save on the best insurance policies.Get Quotes Now
3. Show Your Kids Purposeful Uses of Technology
UNICEF studies have shown that strict restriction on internet usage is not the best way to raise kids. Being online can help young minds embrace critical learning and other developmental skills.
The study compared the internet usage of almost 15,000 children in 11 European, Asian, Latin American, and African countries. It found that even participating primarily in online activities for entertainment gives children vital technical skills that can become a foundation for navigating the digital world as they age. For instance, watching videos and playing games can promote educational and social interest beyond the internet.
There will always be some risk in using the internet. However, too restrictive parents can unintentionally make their children ill-prepared for the future as technology continues to advance.
It’s better to show your children and teens how to use the internet purposefully instead of restricting their use entirely. They can use their tablets, computers, and smartphones to communicate with others, study for school, and research nearly any topic. Express to your children that the internet is not solely for entertainment, but understand that even that has its benefits.
4. Encourage Your Child to Communicate Openly About Online Experiences
It is not hard for children to encounter unwanted materials online, even with parental controls. Even something as simple as a video chat among friends can give your child a pleasant or uncomfortable experience.
Encourage your child to speak with you about their digital experiences. Communication between parents and children about online experiences will help both parties understand them and determine actions to take. Try to be open-minded and not judgemental to create a welcoming atmosphere.
5. Teach Your Children Online Consent and Etiquette
The accessibility of information and ease with which people can find or upload data makes it easy to forget about consent. For instance, children may talk about private experiences of others online not intended for public consumption. It’s a simple mistake to make, but it can have a damaging impact.
Create a culture of permission and consent regarding online behaviours. Examples include asking your child for permission before posting their picture on social media. Leading by example helps your child learn to seek approval from others before posting things online.
6. Ensure Your Child Develops Resilience to Online Threats and Challenges
It's natural for a parent to want to protect their child from the unsavoury aspects of the internet. Instead of shielding your child from the dangers of the internet, discuss those dangers with them.
Helping your child understand dangers and risky behaviours will give them a foundation for online safety. They will learn to identify potential problems and the best techniques to deal with them. That includes engaging with mean people or “trolls” online.
7. Trade Screen Time for Real Life Experiences
Though allowing your child to explore technology is a good idea, you don't want them to always be in front of a screen. A healthy balance between screentime and real-life experiences is the best way to raise kids who grow up as well-adjusted adults. Consider these offline activities for your child:
- Nature walks or hikes
- Family board games
- Cooking with adult supervision
8. Adjust Your Mindset About Your Kid’s Tech Time
Sometimes parents view their children’s online usage as a waste of time. That is not entirely accurate. Navigating the internet as a child or teen certainly comes with benefits.
When you see your child using their phone, gaming system, or tablet, try not to think of it as a way for them to break away from their families or waste time doing something meaningless. Consider their screentime as a way for them to connect with friends. That is how many children these days engage with their peers.
9. Engage with Your Child Online
Your child doesn’t have to be online alone. Consider screentime as a way to bond with your children by watching, engaging, or playing with them while they use their devices. These interactions provide excellent opportunities for you to offer personal perspectives and guidance that can help them in the long run.
10. Embrace Face-to-Face Communication with Your Children
It may seem as though children begin using devices at a young age. Whether they play games on a console or watch videos on a tablet, children always appear to have some connection to the internet or digital media. However, children learn two-way communication starting at a young age, so talking to them face-to-face will help your child develop language skills.
Back-and-forth conversations are more beneficial than passive communication through a screen. Don’t forget to engage with your child in-person to facilitate a different aspect of learning they might not get through their screen.
Raising Kids in a Digital World - The Takeaway
Finding the balance between on and off screen time is key when raising your kids in today's digital world. As well, learning what is healthy online engagement and what is not is paramount. How tech saavy are you? What products do you search for online? Did you know that you can shop for all this insurance related online as well? Keeping your children safe online is a sign of good parenting, and so is ensuring that you and your family have the right insurance products to protect your lives, your health and well-being, your mortgages, homes and so much more. Visit us online and explore our world of insurance and find out why over 1 million Canadians have trusted Insurdinary with their insurance products. Prefer to speak to an agent? We can do that too. Give us a call at 1-877-574-RISK (7475). One of our licensed agent looks forward to working with you.