Parenting kids today involves a real world and a parallel digital world. Good Digital Habits are a crucial 21st century life skill that need to be taught, shown and learnt as early on as possible, and practised by the whole family.
There has been a lot of focus on the amount of screen time in the past years, and it is certainly an important aspect to manage for your kids’ health, development and well-being. But even more important than the “how much” is the “what” they are watching or doing on their screens. Remember, where kids use technology often dictates how they use their technology.
Our top tips:
- Sit down with your family and agree a Family Digital Alliance to agree your family’s rules and guidelines for device use, and keep each other honest on your agreement;
- Set No-Go zones and times for device use in your home;
- Understand that app developers are NOT regulated, so they set their own age restrictions for social media apps and games – often 12 or 13 years when they should in reality be much higher;
- Avoid letting your kids own their own smartphone or tablet until they are 18 and treat it like a car: loan it to them with conditions of use, so that you can check it when you want to, install parental filters, and take it back again if the privilege is abused. Only when they own it, do they set their own rules.
- Make sure that all devices “sleep” at night in communal charging zones, and not in bedrooms;
- Keep striving for tech-life balance: those “missed opportunities” are detrimental to young developing brains and bodies;
- Remember that NMK (not my kid) might well be the most damaging thought to pass any parent’s mind.