Parenting in the Digital Age

I come across lots of good articles out there, and thought I’d share this one. It discusses how to be a parent in this digital age we are in.


Steps to good digital parenting

Here are six steps the Family Online Safety Institute recommends taking in order to be a good digital parent:

1. Talk to your kids

Your child is still learning to make good decisions on their own — whether they’re 3 or 17.

This is where you come in.

Talk to them early, and often, about peer pressure and why they should resist it. Be open and direct. Remind them that they should never do anything they are not comfortable with — online or offline. Let them know to tell you if someone asks them to do something that they think is wrong and not to talk to strangers online. With all the craziness in the world these days, you really can’t remind them of this enough!

2. Educate yourself

Not familiar with a game your kids love? Learn how to play it! Hear your kids talking about a new social media app? Learn how to use it! Search online for anything you don’t understand — there’s a wealth of information out there about almost every app and game created. You might find that you enjoy the same games or apps your kids do — and it might open up whole new lines of communication between you!

3. Use parental controls

Almost every online platform offers parental controls to help you restrict the types of content your child can view. Use them and check periodically to make sure they’re working.

4. Set reasonable time and usage limits

Set rules about how much screen time is acceptable and what your kids are, and aren’t, allowed to do online. The Family Online Safety Institute suggests putting a family contract in place that includes sanctions if agreed-upon limits aren’t followed.

5. Be present

As the Family Online Safety Institute put it, “Friend and follow, but don’t stalk.” What does that mean? It means if your child is old enough for social media, you should “friend” them — but respect their space, and don’t be the parent who comments on every photo! You should also talk to your child about what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate to share online — from personal information to photo choices.

6. Be a good role model!

You can talk to kids all you want about limiting screen time, but if they see you on your digital devices all the time …. well you’re saying one thing, but certainly sending a different message! When it’s time for the kids to unplug, you should too. Find something you can do together — go for a walk, play a game, or even curl up together on the couch to read a book.