"Dad, can I use your iPhone to play Doodle Truck?"
If this annoying statement sounds evergreen to you, then you’re amongst the many sets of parents in the world who are perplexed and frustrated over their kids being addicted to the internet and technology.
With the iGeneration, the biggest problem for parents is to know when and how to draw the line with technology. Here are a few tips that you should check out for parenting in the Digital Age.
Make rules for yourself first
The biggest irony occurs when a parent stuck to his / her own Blackberry yells out to his / her child, "Son, quit the game on the iPad right now".
We all have heard this parenting tip time and again. But as parents, we fail to follow it ourselves. If you are stuck to checking emails and replying to your texts on your Blackberry all day, there is really no reason why your child should adhere to your rules.
If you job involves that kind of heavy engagement with technology, at least make sure that you are off it when you come home. Don’t let your child imitate you on this one.
Check if technology is truly connecting you to your child
Most parents introduce their kids to technology at a tender age when they feel that it will be critical to facilitate their education. And once kids start off, there’s no stopping them. Be careful that you load applications, software and data on your phone or computer which pertains only to making the child’s education more interactive.
You may want to allow for 2-3 games, but you have to draw a line after that. A great tip for parenting in the digital age is to avoid loading all of this on mobile devices and iPad, so that kids don’t become immersed in it whenever they want to. Restrict their use only when they are at home.
Strike a balance indoors and outdoors
Sure, you may assure yourself that your child’s games on his/her Xbox or PS are great for his/her hand-eye coordination, but you need to stop kidding yourself after a point!
Technology is only going to become more and more complex by the day and your child can get stuck in the technology whirlpool, completely oblivious of the world outside.
If you don’t allot fixed hours in the day for your child’s outdoor activities, sports, meeting people, helping you in the kitchen or any other exercises, their motor skills will actually start plummeting. Becoming little geniuses because of the internet will then become worthless.
An essential tip for parenting the iGeneration in the Digital Age is that you have to keep up with them in terms of technology yourself. Act as their friends and communicate with them of social media, share pictures, fun articles and some educational material once in a while.
The point is to give them an impression that you are not here to cut down and restrict their use of technology, only channel it properly.
Cutting them off from technology by force isn’t a viable option these days because even party invitations, school updates and community activities for kids are communicated via social media.
Don’t be afraid of snooping
Forget your ethics when it comes intruding your child’s privacy when he / she is at a tender age and is using technology. Keeping your PC/laptop in a fairly accessible corner of the home, checking internet history, keeping a password backup, locking you machine when you don’t want them to use it etc. are methods you should unabashedly use to check if they are safe on the internet or not.
You must sit them down and talk them through internet safety and the consequences of inappropriate online behavior.
We know it’s going to be a push-and-pull challenge for you, but technology like any other invention of mankind, has become a necessary evil and is here to stay. As parents, you might as well start learning how to deal with it rather than invite the wrath of your children by disconnecting them.
What do you think?