Parenting in the digital age brings a new set of challenges that parents of previous generations did not have to navigate. The dinner bell has been replaced with dinner texts, and sunset now signals the time to turn off your tablet rather than park your bicycle and come inside. There are more ways than ever for us to connect and managing them all can be challenging for any parent. Here are some tips to help you manage parenting in the digital age.
Manage screen time on multiple devices
Most children and teens now have multiple connected devices–smartphones, tablets, computers, and gaming consoles. One of the first ways you can model responsible use is by monitoring your own use. Set boundaries for your household, such as no devices at dinner, or no cell phones in bed. Require your child to charge his smartphone in the kitchen at night rather than in his room. You can also manage your Wi-Fi connection, setting up certain times that devices, such as the computer or gaming console, can or cannot connect.
Regularly discuss your child’s digital life
The most important thing you can do to keep your child safe online is to have regular discussions about it. This will help you understand how they use the Internet, what they enjoy watching and sharing, and what social media applications they use. It also helps you better understand how to support and mentor your child. The Internet can be a wonderful tool to make meaningful connections and to learn and explore. The more you know and understand, the more you can influence the role digital media plays and share the information your child needs to know to use these tools to enrich their lives online.