There’s no better proof for the fact that technology is the future than the numerous surveys whichindicate that 70% to 90% of the children from US and Europe have some sort of online presence by the time they are 2 years old. Whether we’re talking about some tweets or photos shared by their parents on social platforms, or full-fledged accounts on said networks, one thing’s for sure – children nowadays are growing up embraced by technology, and while that’s not a bad thing in itself, it can be risky if it’s not done right. You, as a parent, need to make sure your child is putting technology to good use. Here are three tips when you consider your child’s daily interaction with technology.
First things first: ground rules. One of the most common mistakes parents make when introducing their children to the world of technology is making them believe that technology is a right, when in fact it is a privilege. Until your kids are old enough to earn money and buy their own devices and pay their own Internet bills, you pay the bills and you make the rules – simple as that.This should be clarified in a non-condescending but firm tone.
Since technology offers children various entertainment options, and will be a major interest for your children, you can that to your own advantage and use it as a reward. Set up a list of chores for your children, and award them with more technology time for each task they complete. That will help them become responsible, teach them that work pays off, and offers them entertainment.
Another important aspect to keep in mind is setting technology-free times and zones. While technology can be very useful for entertainment or socialization, it should not be a replacement for these elements, so it’s a good idea to set up technology-free times and zones. For example, you can set a rule that nobody touches their phones or electronics during dinners, or that no smartphones or tables are allowed in bedrooms after a certain hour in the evening.
Kids will be kids – they will always want to play and have fun when given a smartphone, tablet or computer, but these gadgets can do much more than that. There are numerous productive activities that can be carried out on said devices, and while those activities can sound a whole lot less entertaining than a good game or a cartoons marathon, they don’t necessarily have to be. There are numerous educational games such as trivia and quiz games that can provide entertainment while teaching children new stuff.
When playtime is over, there is much more to learn with the help of technology. After all, the Internet is the biggest information library in existence, so why not take advantage of it? Teaching your children to use the web to learn about stuff is a skill that will be very useful for them, especially when it comes to school-related stuff.
Speaking of school – most modern schools offer online platforms and school communication software, so both you and your children can be up to date with school-related news and events, get in touch with teachers and other parents, and much more, making it very convenient to keep track of your children’s education from the comfort of your own home.
One of the most important things to teach your children when it comes to interaction with technology is that, even though their actions might be digital, they still need to take responsibility for. Online bullying has become as dangerous as real-life bullying, and probably even worse, as it’s significantly easier to do it online, so make sure your children are not involved in it, on either side of the fence.
Also, the overall online behavior of children (and adults as well) should be a decent one, as it can impact their lives when they expect it the least. Employers nowadays are already checking social media profiles of potential job candidates, and someone that posts unethical stuff will have significantly lower chances of getting hired than someone with a healthy online presence.
The common rule should be that, if a statement or action would not be carried out in real life, it’s probably not a good idea to carry it online either.