by Michael Bernzweig
A Parent's Guide to Technology: Tips for Raising Kids in the Digital Age
Growing up in the digital age is challenging for any parent, especially with remote learning on the rise. Still, kids' technology can benefit little ones in several ways. Educators, parents, and children all stand to gain something positive from using technology. While there are benefits, some disadvantages of the tech boom include cyberbullying, shortened attention spans, and more tantrums.
With this in mind, it's important, when parenting, to take an active role in their kid's education, including teaching them about modern technology use. Using filters and safety software, you can make the most of your children's technology and digital experience.
Be a Good Role Model
Older children need to understand that being a good role model is not just about being a good person in life but also in the world of technology. If parents practice good online etiquette, it is a good example to their children as to what they should and should not do online. Being a role model also means practicing what you preach, so reducing your own screen time may help children to see how they can spend less time online. As a rule of thumb, it is important to refine our skill of maintaining respectful levels of screen time in our own lives.
If you are the parent of teens, ensure they know about the dangers of cyberbullying, predators, and other potential threats before getting online.
Combine Tech With the Outdoors
You can get the kids outside by taking up an outdoor hobby. A hobby that combines the outdoors, technology, and learning is metal detecting. Make sure you select the best kids' metal detector for your little treasure hunter based on his or her size, age, and attention level.
Some ways you and your children can engage in outdoor activities and implement technology at the same time include:
The benefits of these activities include:
- Having fun with your children
- Increasing their creativity and problem-solving skills by taking a break from electronic devices
- Spending time outdoors and enjoying nature.
Combining your kid's interest in technology with spending time outdoors is a great way to make a compromise between you and your kid on doing things you both would like to do
Don't Forget About Face-to-Face Connections
The importance of having face-to-face social interactions, especially for kids, is significant. Face-to-face connections can positively impact the development of children and determine their level of social skills. It can give them increased motivation, increased confidence, and reduced anxiety.
While it's okay for kids to use technology, it is also essential they engage in other types of social interaction. 35% of teens up to high school and higher education age say that texting is their preferred method of communication.
Face-to-face connections are more important for children, especially in their younger years. With the quick transition from face-to-face to digital interactions for kids, there has been an increase in social anxieties and depression.
Download Age-Appropriate Apps
It is important to have age-appropriate apps so that the content is not too mature for your child. Limiting the amount of time spent on apps can also help regulate screen time. Apps can be downloaded for smartphones, tablets, Nintendo Switches, and other digital devices. For younger kids, limit their screen time to two hours or less per day.
Some age-appropriate apps for children under 5 include development apps like:
- Endless Alphabet
- Tappity: Scientist/Science Expert
- YouTube Kids
- Toca Life: School
Some age-appropriate apps for kids ages 5-8 include brain game apps like:
- Crazy Gears
- GoNoodle Games
- Nintendo Switch
Age-appropriate apps for older kids above 8 include thinking and adventure games like:
- Adventures of Poco Eco
- Alto's Adventures
- Word Runners
As a parent, you can utilize parental controls or organizations like Common Sense Media. The mission of Common Sense Media is to evaluate and rate media and technology to provide information regarding their appropriateness for children. We all know that too much screen time can negatively affect kids. While the latest tech devices offer lots of benefits and can have a positive effect on brain development, it is important to monitor their use. By offering appropriate video game supervision, we are doing our part as parents. Many of these devices indeed offer enhanced functionality over their analog counterparts in our lives. But with enhanced function also comes enhanced dangers and responsibilities as we use the new digital device in our lives.
Items for an older child, like the apple watch and other digital media devices, must also be monitored for screen time. These devices are, in essence, just a different form of app player with digital screens attached to them. As your younger kid becomes an older kid, it is double important to keep them safe online no matter what type of electronic device they are on. From the latest digital technology devices like a smartphone to other electronic gadgets, each gadget must improve children's lives.
Educate Your Children on Internet Safety
It's okay for parents to encourage online friendships - many children have online friends they like to talk to when playing video games. However, many children often face online bullying and other negative interactions.
The importance of teaching children about the dos and don'ts of using the internet is essential for safe online activity. Some topics to address when educating kids about online safety include:
Educating children about online safety is essential for their safety. Teaching your children digital citizenship and key safety topics is essential. Topics that should be discussed include:
- Don't give out personal information
- Be wary of artificial intelligence applications
- Safety rules and best practices when online
- Don't open files from strangers
- Don't share personal photos or videos
- Don't tell anyone you trust them completely online.
- Avoid bad situations by steering clear of inappropriate content and behavior.
Suppose you're curious about some higher education resources. In that case, the American Academy of Pediatrics, dedicated to the health of all children, offers some online courses related to monitoring your child's mental health and mental well-being.
Limit Screen Time
Creating a set schedule for tech use is a great way to monitor your child's screen time. Schedules can be set in a wide variety, including a constant time limit. Furthermore, it is also a good idea to monitor your child's use of social media and apps on their mobile device or tablet. Your child can benefit from having a schedule because it allows them to get into a routine and improves their mental health.
Some tips on how to create a schedule include:
Consider your morning routine - Start by making breakfast together, make them put their cell phone away half an hour before school, stay off of social media, etc.
Create a family calendar - schedule times when everyone has to put their devices away for certain activities like dinner or family game night.
Be realistic - no one is perfect at sticking to a constant time limit on screen time, but it's important that you set the standard for your child. Be honest about how long you think they should be spending on screens, and then try your best to stick to it.
Offer alternatives - if your kid starts whining because they want more screen time, offer them alternatives, so they don't resort back to obsessing over their device. For example, instead of playing video games, offer them board games, etc.
Consider your nightly routine and your child's sleep habits - If your kid is having trouble sleeping at night, maybe start limiting their technology time in the evening. This can be difficult for a young person who uses technology to fall asleep.
Nourish Your Child's Self Worth
Whether it's from comments on social media use, social networking mishaps, or verbal abuse while playing video games, many children often face online abuse. Online abuse can come from comments from peers playing online video games, cyberbullying, cyberstalking, and more.
Cyberbullying on social media can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicide. It is important to nurture your kid's self-worth by giving them uplifting comments or compliments when they are feeling down.
You can uplift your child's self-esteem by:
- Teaching Resilience
- Promote Physical Activity
- Complimenting them after they complete a task or receive good grades
- Give them positive comments about themselves when they do not feel good about themselves.
- Limiting social media overexposure
- Teaching them how to cope with a bully
Remember, It's okay for your kids to be online.
Kids shouldn't be discouraged from wanting to use technology. After all, implementing technology in everyday life will only continue to increase in popularity. Using technology is completely normal and should be encouraged. There are hundreds of fun websites, games, and other apps specifically designed for young children.
Some careers are even using tech more often, like:
Your child will need to be responsible if they want to have access to technology, especially after you set limitations on their usage. Encourage your kid to look after the tablet or computer like it's their own because it is! You can also encourage them by rewarding them with more time on the device when they show responsibility.
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