Monday, 20 November 2017

Parenting in the Internet Age*

Being a parent in this digital world that we live in can be pretty scary. It seems like as soon as babies are out of the womb, they’re swiping smartphones and playing with iPads, and they’re doing it better than the adults!

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As a responsible parent, you want to allow them to enjoy the technology that is available and which will surely be an important part of their future, but you also want to keep them safe and grounded in the real world too. It can be tough, but here are some things that should help you to parent effectively in the internet age:

Use the Safety Features

Most technology and most websites that children might be attracted to using have safety features built in and all you need to do is activate them if you want to keep your kids safe when using them. Of course, that won’t stop them accessing some of the less than child-friendly stuff out there all of the time, especially as they get older, which is why you might want to invest in some good parental control software and learn how to use it, too!

Start the Conversation Early

As soon as your children are old enough to use various tech that can connect to the internet, you should start talking to them about the potential dangers of speaking to unknown individuals online or visiting inappropriate websites. You should do this in an age-appropriate manner so as to not scare them and you should do it in the wider context of asking them what they’ve been doing. By showing an interest in what they’re building in Minecraft, or whatever, it won’t look so much like a lecture, and they’re more likely to open up and let you in on their digital world.

Check What They’re Doing

As a parent in the digital age, you should always be checking on what you’re children are doing. Look at their tablets to see whether they’re using a safe children's app or something that has the potential to be abused; if they’re old enough to be on Facebook, become friends with them so you can see who they’re talking to, and generally just take an interest in their activities.

Limit Their Screen Time

Limiting the amount of screen time your little ones have is really important, especially when they are little because you want them to grow up well-rounded and balanced and that means playing outside, building legos, baking with mummy and doing a whole host of other things that don’t involve devices!

Limit Your Own Screen Time

Of course, it isn’t only kids who get addicted to the internet - there are plenty of parents who are permanently attached to their Apple products too. If you want your kids to lead a balanced life then, y’know, be a role model and spend less time on your own devices and more time doing fun things with them in ‘real life’.

If you can do these pretty simple things, then your children should be just fine online!

*Disclaimer: Collaborative content. 

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