In an age when children spend more than half of their waking hours online, it’s important as parents to know how to foster good digital habits and etiquette in the home.
Just like the physical world, we all need to learn how to live in the world wide web.
For starters, we need to learn to manage our time, sift through information, behave in an appropriate manner, interact with others, and find the tools and resources we need.
But, unlike the real world, the web is unfiltered and limitless realm which users can explore directly from their sofas for hours on end. This warrants the need for a whole new way of understanding along with a particular set of rules for managing it with our lives.
Bring balance and order to the virtual world and check out these five parenting tips for raising the digitally integrated child:
Accept the digital age
As we progress into the 21st century, the digital realm becomes ever more intertwined with our lives. For someone growing up in 2016, their virtual persona is as important — if not more — than their physical self.
This is a sign of the changing times which parents simply need to accept and learn how to manage properly. Make sure your child is behaving appropriately online and not abusing online relationships. Remind them that everything they do online will become part of their ‘digital footprint’, and can affect their future in things like getting a date to finding a job.
Treat the virtual world like the physical
Don’t be phased by the vastness of the web and its lack of boundaries; rules you uphold in the physical world should be applied in the virtual world too.
If you’ve already set a precedent of standards and limits, this will make it easier when it comes to transferring them across. Just like you usually know who your kids are playing with and where they are, you can expect the same online. Set limits by using a web filter extension and observe browsing history to find out where they’ve been.
Use media to play and learn together
Although we use like to use them as such, media and virtual games don’t have to be single person activities. An exciting and engaging video game or a challenging and educational media activity can be a great way for the family to bond and spend quality time together. They can also offer the opportunity to practice good sportsmanship and etiquette.
Designate tech-free zones
Like everything, you get the best out of technology when used in moderation. One effective way to reduce its use is to create tech-free zones, for example, the dining room and/or kitchen.
Simple changes like these can encourage more family time and help your kids avoid overusing their devices. You can also assign time periods such as lunch time or after 10pm as tech-free zones; this has the added benefit of improving their sleep and eating habits.
Value face-to-face communication
Just because they spend most of their hours buried in a screen doesn’t mean they should lose basic interpersonal communication skills.
This behaviour can stem from your own media habits. If you’re staring at a screen when interacting with your children, they may decide it’s okay to do it too and start to devalue in person communication.
Contact us today to find out how you can help safeguard the health of your children by storing stem cells from their baby teeth.