The Jakarta Post
Children mimic their parents, so it is important to set a good example in terms of using digital devices and browsing the internet. (Shutterstock/-)
Parenting in the digital era is quite challenging as mobile devices and the internet, as convenient as they are, can lead to negative developmental patterns in children when not utilized properly.
As reported by Antara, the Family Online Safety Institute's Stephen Balkam has shared tips on how parents can safely nurture their children in today's technologically geared world.
1. Talk with your children
Communicate with your children on what they can and shouldn't be doing when browsing the internet as early as possible. Make sure the talk is straight to the point and as clear as possible, so there won't be any misunderstanding.
2. Keep up with current technology
Many parents are not used to the internet and hence don't understand many things about it. Unlike children who are usually able to adapt quickly to this technology, you may need more time to grasp everything.
Balkam stressed that parents should learn about the digital world, making a concerted effort to educate themselves online. They also need to understand the apps, games and websites their children are frequently visiting so that they are aware of the kind of content their kids are exposed to.
3. Use parental control
Many devices, games, operating systems and search engines come with parental control features. Activate these features on your devices, especially those used by children, such as mobile phones, tablets and gaming consoles. Monitor your children's use of these products.
4. Set rules, boundaries
Make rules for your children in terms of browsing the internet. For example, limit the time and place where all family members are not allowed to use digital devices.
For instance, you can create a mobile phone-free zone in the dining room, which encourages social interaction among family members during meals.
It is also reasonable for parents to require children to turn off all electronic devices several hours prior to bed time. Research indicates that a person has more difficulty sleeping when they are busy with their phones at night because display lights on electronic devices stimulate the brain, keeping you awake.
5. Friend, follow your children on social media
When your children reach an age in which they are ready to use social media, allow them to create social media accounts if they so desire. But make sure you are friends with them on the platform.
"Be a friend, but don't be a stalker where you continue to monitor what they're doing all the time, always giving comments. The term for this kind of parent is 'helicopter parent'," said Balkam.
Give your kids freedom on the internet, especially when they in their teens, a time in which they tend to be fond of sharing their feelings on social media.
Afterward, you can encourage your kids to develop a strong online reputation, as everything they post is essentially recorded forever. Remind them that negative content expressed during unstable times might do them harm in the future. For instance, a blogger from England recently had to pull out of a L'Oreal hair advertisement campaign due to a tweet she posted a few years ago.
6. Explore positive things
The internet also has many positive things that you and your children can enjoy. For instance, ask your kids to chat with family members who live far away using Skype. Utilize and embrace what technology has to offer.
7. Set a good example
Children mimic their parents, so it is important to set a good example in terms of using digital devices and browsing the internet. Avoid all negative habits if you don't want your kids to do it too. If you prohibit your children from wearing headphones while sitting at the dinner table, you should also do the same thing.
Parents should also know when they should not use their own electronic devices and the internet so that they can interact with their loved ones directly, not through a computer or mobile screen. Try to turn off and put away your phone and laptop during weekends and enjoy the valuable free time chatting with your family. (kes)