Today's children do not know a world without technology. Just look all around you. There's the guy on the bus on his iPad, the school-age child racing home to the computer, the teenage girl sitting in the coffee shop and texting on her cellphone, the young boy rocking out to the tunes on his mp3 player. There's no hiding it. We live a fast-paced digital world. As a parent, it can be very overwhelming. Much of it is still foreign to me. At first, I thought I would just shelter my children from the online world. No cellphones, no Facebook and limited computer access. But I've since come to the realization that that's simply not an option. Denying my kids access to our digital world is like asking them to take up shelter under a rock. I need to embrace digital parenting. I need to educate myself in how to use the digital devices and media the kids are using today. Although I may find it difficult to guide them in an area where they know more than I, I can certainly put some rules into place - rules that will ease my worries and allow them to live freely in the 21st century.
As they grow up, get jobs and start purchasing their own electronic equipment, I'm sure I will be faced with new challenges. But for now, I'm feeling a little more in control in an ever-expanding online world.
- Keep the computer in a central place and have it accessible to the entire family
- Ask for passwords for social media sites. I've learned that this is the best way to protect them from online problems.
- Never allow them to subscribe to any newsletters or fill out any forms or questionnaires without my permission.
- Be clear with them about the potential problems that come with engaging in electronic communications. All Internet and text messages leave a trail that is easily accessible.