About Digital Parenting
‘‘Digital parenting’ basically refers to parents’ supervision of the child's online activity using digital gadgets accessible to them. The relevance of the term is gaining more and more importance in the current era, because of the penetration of the digital gadgets into everyday lives of every member in the family for various purposes.
Need for Digital Parenting
With the technology taking over our lives in every aspect, it has become necessary for parents in the family to understand that they need to extend their approach and change the style of parenting from real time to digital space also.Thus a good Digital Parenting skill requires the parents to acquaint, adapt and arise to the current scenario of Digital Survival.
This skill is required by them achieve the following objectives-
- Bridge the digital generation gap that they are exposed to in the current scenario.
- Become competent to address the challenges, risks and opportunities brought in by intervention of digital media in child’s life.
- Achieve the delicate balance between supervising child’s online behaviour and at the same time enabling them with required online independence.
Importance of Digital parenting
Digital parenting skills helps parents find the right balance in maintaining real life human and virtual/ digital bonds. It helps the whole family to partner with technology in a progressive, enabling and independent way, with the freedom to use it responsibly.
Digital parenting skills enables open & effective discussion on proper use of digital resources.
The digital parents of current times must acquaint themselves with “what and why” of the technologies, digital devices, social media apps, games. They must also be well aware of their appropriate usage of these technologies.
This knowledge with the right amount of age-old parenting wisdom enables parents in following ways
- It helps parents to guide the children on appropriate and right use of digital resources.
- It gives them understanding & empathy for the child in this cyber age
- It will help give the child the confidence to confide in parents, for suggestions on their digital issues
- This helps parents and children have open talks about issues
Digital parenting skills enables you to be your child’s role model in digital world.
Parents should always bear in mind that they are their child’s first teachers. It is them who the children observe constantly while growing up and it’s their footsteps that the children step in later. Therefore, parents should not only be aware of technologies and their proper usage, but also strictly implement the standards they intend to set for children.
Digital parenting skills helps them to be technically updated to monitor your child’s activity.
With the ever-developing technologies, there are updated digital gadgets with variety of features, games, applications trending in the market, which children will be interested to use.
The appropriate information regarding these helps the parents to be knowledgeable enough to understand and guide the child when they try to use these trending gadgets/technologies. Also, there are some useful apps to track child’s whereabouts; their online activity etc., apps like life 360, bark, net nanny etc. are few examples which can help in digital parenting.
Digital parenting skills helps to be aware of dangers and threats in digital space
As interesting, exciting and informative the world of internet may seem, it certainly has dangers and threats lurking around. The threats of phishing, cyber bullying, trolling, malware, hacking etc., are all real and children can be even more vulnerable to these threats.
It becomes necessary for parents in this digital age to not only have an understanding about these online dangers and threats but also be aware about the ways and measures to be suggested to ensure online safety of child
Digital parenting skills ensure effective and secure use of gadgets
The digital gadgets accessed by children today are more advanced and have variety of security features which can be enabled for their effective use.
Having knowledge about these features can help parents in activating the privacy options with appropriate security settings on the digital devices accessible to children, avoiding inappropriate online exposure for their age and also helping them be safe online.
Digital parenting skills ensures productive use of digital devices and technology
The digital parenting skills help them have an understanding of both its uses and threats in the digital world. This understanding ensures that they adopt an enabling parenting style. It helps to draw family guidelines, contracts, agreements for proper use of digital devices with open talks or discussions. This open approach helps them efficiently manage child’s digital time and supervise their digital activity effectively.
Ways to be a Good Digital Parent
A good digital parenting skill requires effective execution of right proportion of age old parenting wisdom, with updated knowledge of right & appropriate use of digital devices. For a successful digital parenting story, parents have to device ways and means of implementing the good digital practices in the family.
Be a good Digital Role Model
- Not engaging too much in digital devices when you are around children.
- Pay attention to children and to what they want tell you
- Engage in interactive talk with children when you are around them
- Have digital free zones like bedtime, dinner time, play time, driving time etc.,
- Model kindness and good manners, when using digital medium for communication
Practice open communication - have open talks, share &discuss with children
- Listen to children when they are trying to talk to you about their digital issues
- Respect their point of view without being too critical or judgmental
- Discuss about different ways to arrive at a possible solution and offer mentorship
- Engage in positive, encouraging and motivating approach while talking to children
- Have a calm and cool attitude without overreacting or over responding
- Be accessible to children; have certain time in a day allocated to family and children like dinner time, bedtime, weekend outings etc.,
Keep track and have information
- Take help of available technologies and apps which help you to keep track and tabs on child’s online
activity. Example: Bark, net nanny etc.,
- Be observant and aware of verbal and nonverbal behavior cues of children. Look out for signs of
of sadness, anxiety, mood swings, aloofness, engaging overly on digital media, addictive behavior,
sleeplessness etc., which may indicate trouble.
- Enable security features and privacy settings on the digital devices in age appropriate manner
- Know about the friends, social media accounts and activities that the child is generally involved with
- Monitor online gaming habits of children and keep them aware of dangers of certain online games
- Make screen time to be a combined activity rather than an individual one
Be Ready to Learn, Unlearn and Relearn
- Be aware and be prepared for the challenges of parenting in the current scenario of cyber age.
- Be prepared to learn about the latest technologies, their advantages or disadvantages, about the impact it can have while the child is interacting on digital media.
- Be prepared to learn about parenting approaches that are innovative to work out effective strategies to find the right balance between setting limits yet enabling them in progressive use of technology, maintaining real time human bonds rather than virtual bonds.
- Always remember that there is no sure shot, laid down route to an absolute successful digital parenting. While there is support and information on the subject, every parents’ journey will be their own unique story with their own trials and errors. To be persistent and keep trying is the only way.
Exercise parental controls
- Set to no technology zones and times in the house e.g. devices should not be allowed in the bedrooms and dining rooms. Limit the Internet activity of the child during the study, Family or night time.
- Set up restrictions on usage of apps, games, TV time and internet downloads, based on age appropriate content, child safety features.
- Use helpful resources like google safe search, white listing specific sites on your kids device, creating separate accounts with restrictions that are age appropriate etc.,