As kids grow smarter by each passing generation with digitization and smart devices that have seeped into every aspect of our lives, today’s parents face an enormous challenge to raise kids and manage their ‘screen times’ and ensure internet safety for kids all at the same time. There are ample options for kids to explore and learn via smartphones, iPads and internet in general. It’s a part of their daily routines and need not be as bad as it sounds – only if managed appropriately. So, to begin with, you will need to set some boundaries and limits for internet usage and define some time for outdoor ‘play’. The common concerns for every parent are:
- Kids do not play outdoors anymore.
- Virtual friends – online are in large numbers and real friendships have lost their charm. Kids haven’t actually seen the friends they talk to ‘online’ daily.
- Smart devices are great for learning activities but parent-child relationships are becoming tenuous.
- Kids lose track of time while on the internet and too much online time leads to an irritable mood when asked to turn it off.
- Impacts sleep negatively and hence their performance in school the next day.
It’s important to keep a tab on your kid’s activities online and set some ground rules for internet usage. The good news is that as a parent, you need not be a tech expert to effectively manage your child’s time and activities online. Here are a few tips for parents whose kids grow up digitized:
Constant and clear communication
Before you allow access to any device or social media, it is imperative that you set your expectations right about the acceptable use of that technology. It’s important to understand that kids are already excited about their new ‘devices’, and it’s going to be quite a task initially. Hence, make your approach towards digitization seamless. Let them understand that it’s a part of our lives but need to be used judiciously. Technology definitely provides us with a lot of conveniences, but complete dependence on technology is unhealthy.
Monitoring and mentoring
Both of these are vital as your kids gain more and more access to the web world. With proper monitoring of screen time, their locations (if on a mobile device) and the websites visited, you can coach them about internet usage in a better and more informed way. One great way to track your child’s mobile device usage is by installing a phone tracker app such as Easy Logger. It allows you to set up an email address where it sends detailed logs of the phone calls made, the texts sent, the apps used and effectively tracks the location with an option to keep the app hidden on the phone!You can understand your child’s mobile usage and use the information to mentor the kid for appropriate usage of digital devices. Above all, constantly guide your kids about the acceptable usage of the internet. Help them understand that they could be their own advocates and efficiently achieve a balance between their digital and interpersonal life.