IT was only just few days ago that we celebrated Mothers Day. Apart from handing them cards and flowers, we now take them out for a meal, snap wefies and post them on social media.
Technology has changed many aspects of our lives, including parenting. Parenting in the digital age has evolved quite a bit compared with a few decades ago.
Nowadays, we get parents saying that they feel that they are losing their kids to smartphones and tablets. Quite true, if I may concur. As seen in many public scenes, where parents sit down to a meal with their kids, yet everyone is glued to his smartphone or tablet until the food arrives.
To be fair, it’s not entirely the children’s fault. Partly, it’s the parents’; we are responsible when it comes to giving children access to technology. I am not saying this is a bad thing. In fact, it is good for them to gain knowledge of technology to keep up with the world. The fact that I am more concerned is the amount of technology access we parents give to our children.
As parents, we need to lay down ground rules when it comes to technology. Technology is like a coin. There are two sides to everything. It can offer so much to our kids and, yet, it can also be a hazard. There’s no way to stop our young from technology, so it’s up to parents to make the best of it and adjust to the best we deem fit for them.
Parenting on its own is not easy. In this digital age, it’s a new ball game. Parents have to grapple with technology before they can learn or understand how to deal with their tech-savvier children. Technology can have a generally positive effect on a child’s future, career and life skills. The number of hours a child or teenager spends on technology differs in every country, too.
Children today are not the same as children 20 years ago. Due to the changes in the environment and, to a certain extent, food, they are more active and inclined to learn or pick up things faster.
Children today also learn from their parents and environment. Due to these changes, children are exposed to technology so much more than before.
Honestly, there is no one-size- fits-all approach when it comes to parenting in the digital age. However, there are many ways we can adjust to cater to our kids.
First, we need to strengthen our connection with them. It’s the attention that kids want. If parents spend enough time with their kids, they really wouldn’t have to resort to be hooked on computers and tablets. Ask your child to be honest with you about what they want and they may just tell you that they want your time.
Whatever you may do with your kids, even when you both are on computers or tablets, make sure to do it together. It’s that important as not only will it strengthen your relationship, but both may just learn some new technology together!
As parents, we learn from our own journey in life, books and advice from others.
Technology can open up a whole new path of knowledge in parenting. One can Google anything, anywhere and anytime if you need to find out about something on parenting.
In fact, technology has allowed many parents to understand more than ever before.
Parents just need to do their due diligence to make sure that they get their facts from reputable sites.
Treat technology as a plus point. Apply the same parenting guidelines to real and virtual environments. Set limits in both worlds because your kids need and expect them. Know your kid’s friends, online and in the real world. Keep track of the software and sites that your kids visit, just like you would in reality.
Be a good role model for kids. Teach kindness and manners online as you would in reality.
Create tech-free zones by restricting it to certain times a day. Mealtimes are times to talk to each other and enjoy the food.
Spend time focusing on kids and put away your gadgets. Teach and warn the kids about the importance of privacy and the dangers of predators online. Technology is a hazard when kids do not understand or know about these dangers.
Parenting is never easy, more so in this technology age. Parents just need to re-look into incorporating technology in parenting skills.
Technology is an integral part of our world today... we have to live with it and manage it to the best of our ability.
The writer is editor of BOTs, the weekly tech section in Life&Times. Trained in Maths, he has since traded his problem-solving skills with writing about how tech has helped to transform the world for the better.