They are rightfully called as Digital Generation. Born and raised in digital environments that offer an incredible opportunity to learn, create, build, and network. Social media provides useful tools to learn and create a responsible digital presence for children that also helps them study and consider various viewpoints that makes them better aware.
A digital parent in 2021 must be very aware of all the negative and positive information a child can learn by simply hopping on to their favorite video game or social channel. A simple example of negative information is where Facebook in particular was scrutinized for their inability to delete misinformation and conspiracy theories.
The way family members get information, talk to each other, and do the everyday tasks has changed rapidly due to digital technology. Knowingly or unknowingly parents make the first impression on children by incorporating different interactive digital tools in their everyday life like video gaming, watching Netflix, facetiming, schooling, etc. These encourage positive and healthy uses.
In understanding emerging technology, applications, and their potential to help guide children at any age to maintain a healthy life online, it is important for parents to be positive and confident. Often, we see various households that are utterly against all digital technologies who imbibe the same thing in children. And this may cause issues later in life especially when it comes schooling as it is mandatory now for the classes to be online.
Parents cite several reasons why they think parenting has grown more difficult over the years. Some of the most common responses tend to stress the impact of digital technology (26%), the rise of social media (21%) and how access to technology exposes children to things at a young age (14%).
Though there are wonderful benefits that new digital media has to provide, parenting is still locking horns with technology. As much as parents want their kids to explore digital technology and have a rewarded life, they get to experience power struggles, challenges, co-parenting issues, behavioral shifts, obviously less family time, increased anxiety, etc. 71% parents of a child under the age of 12 say they are concerned their child might spend too much time in front of screens. 45% parents of a child age 5 to 11 have turned to teachers for help. Here is an extensive research to understand the causes behind it.
A common problem faced by parents is the spread of smart gadgets that children continue to use during their early childhoods. Children then begin mobile-device tasks with several everyday activities such as food, homework at school, conversation with parents, or sleep.
Obviously, it poses some serious questions pertaining to the possible opportunities with respect to enhancing knowledge, upskilling, networking etc. by the digital technology. At the same time, our children also have to be protected against the possible threat of the digital environment.
Just because the present generation is being bought up in a digital world, it cannot be taken for granted that, they are digitally literate. Hence, I would say that it is critical for every being connected digitally and not just today’s generation to understand that there is an urgent need for an application or a system that can help us be safe in the online world.
Mobile Apps & Solutions to the Rescue — Helping with Digital Parenting
The tech world is making exciting inventions almost everyday to support parents with all these problems! Mobile apps and solutions are getting very smart that help you monitor the progression and organization of your child’s lives nearly perfectly and securely, right from the time they are born to their teens. So, you can easily monitor and guide your children’s digital lives, and this automatically helps reclaim family time. Here are some of the best smart apps for parents to access.
There are some fun and knowledgeable apps like khan academy, that introduce children to everything, right from the wonders of coloring, reading, science, spelling, math, language, and social-emotional development lessons. Then there are apps like OurHome that help in managing and organizing all family tasks on any given day easily. Also, there is one another interesting app, Tale Tree — their app and camps are all about positive-sharing and designed to bring out the creative genius in each child, to help them learn healthy online social ethics, mindfulness, and self-expression.
In addition, there are some cool innovative solutions like MyFamily that keep you posted on your children’s whereabouts and let you manage screen time and block apps on their devices easily. Moreover, with instant panic alerts, kids can reach out instantly in case of any emergency.
We also have the conscientious Streaming providers such as Netflix, which provide advanced parental tests. It allows a parent to make an intelligent decision — whether the episodes are autoplaying or not, then you can even search the list of shows and films that your child views, block person profiles so that children don’t inadvertently learn what does not suit them and can personalize their profiles.
My 2 Cents
Not just as a Chief Executive Officer but as a father, I would like to share my 2 cents that might help the young digital parents,
Tip #1 — Reduce Screen-Time for Human Interactions
Though it’s not practical for households to be fully screen-free, nearly everybody understands that there are many health advantages of slimming screen time.
As a family, viewing a documentary such as “Social Dilemma,” “Screenagers” or “LIKE” can be an enjoyable experience. Use it to explore the benefits and pitfalls of time on screen and social media. Maybe bringing up bring up relevant news items, such as the proposed TikTok ban over breakfast can be a good idea.
Tip #2 — Encourage Content Creation and not mere Consumption
Is it more like endless scrolling while your child is online or is he curious to know and create?
It is important to monitor to see whether they spend time online in a creative mode, like trying to make things by watching DIYs, just instagramming or actually creating images. Are they just consuming information or creating information by writing blogs and articles? Are they just listening to online music or composing a song? Encourage them to be innovative rather than just users.
Tip #3 — Discuss who they are Following
The digital world puts the children in close touch with individuals and people from all walks of life, especially the great leaders. They get to follow brands, artistic icons, or sporting stars. Encourage your child to join individuals and enterprises that will drive their excitement.
For instance, follow NASA, if they love space or they can also find amazing bloggers or photographers who post their awesome work online. They are more likely to encourage and spark their passions than just mindless scrolling.
Tip #4 — Screen time should not always be alone time
co-view, co-play and co-engage with your kids facilitates social connections, collaboration, and learning. Playing with your children’s in their video game or scrabble online or watching an online movie is an excellent way to demonstrate a strong sporting and gaming etiquette. You will get an opportunity to share opinions, ideas and experience from your own life. Don’t watch them online, chat to them so that you can understand and be part of what they do.
Tip #5 — Show Kids Good Practices
We all know that kids are the best imitators and learn the most from what they see and rather than from what they are told. Hence, as a parent be conscious of your media consumption and screen time.
- Make sure that you follow people that inspire or support you. Ask yourself, do they lift you or are they energy zappers?
- Do you listen attentively when others are talking to you or do you scroll?
- Put your digital devices away to fit all the other important things into your day?
Establishing healthy digital rituals to make these practices the standard for your children. If you don’t want them to be the subjects of unpleasant or unhelpful online experiences, you must ensure that your children rely on positive and encouraging screening hours.
Digital parenting is a very complex field not only because digital devices are evolving quickly, but also because they provide children with multiple options for schooling, networking, socialization, entertainment, etc. that can affect their overall development. These technical experiences are pleasant, but in the actual world, they are not inherently optimal.
With the understanding of how hard it is to provide conclusive answers about the benefits or risks of emerging technology, researchers need to provide more conclusive facts. More evidence-based studies are needed to explain how technical change is affecting the development of young digital users psychologically.
Digital parenting serves as a new-age solution to supplying young minds before they are scarred by it to making them aware of the modern world. Digital parenting, which resonates with millennials, will act as a way of making young people immersive and contemporary. It would further make a difference by reducing expanded screen time for recreational activity and increasing the bar for interaction, clarification, and insightful and innovative use of the net.
This post was written by Asokan Ashok, the CEO of UnfoldLabs. Ashok is an expert in driving customer insights into thriving businesses and commercializing products for scale. As a leading strategist in the technology industry, he is great at recommending strategies to address technology & market trends. Highly analytical and an industry visionary, Ashok is a sought after global high-tech industry thought leader and trusted strategic advisor by companies.