Parenting can be a challenge, there’s little doubt about that. There is now a new element to parenting and that’s digital! Everything from encouraging your kids to have a balance in their use of technology to helping them to be aware of the issues that they may face when they are online is an additional aspect to the parental skill set! Through our work with schools and our interaction with parents here’s some advice we’d like to share!
Don’t worry! It’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed: With the number of apps, social media platforms and general chat about the online world that appears to be everywhere it is natural to feel like there is a huge amount to get your head around. When we are delivering parent and teacher seminars around the country we regularly meet parents who are feeling a little swamped by the sheer number of apps that kids are using. Having basic ‘ground rules’ on the use of technology is a great starting point. For example, decide together about the amount of time that should be spent using screens each day and/or week. Working collaboratively is the best way forward.
Open Communication is the key: The most effective tool you have as a parent is communication! By having an open communication style with your children, on a range of topics including staying safe online, your kids are sure feel secure in knowing that they will be able to talk to you openly about what they are experiencing when they are online. Children can often fear the negative repercussions of being open about what they are doing when they are online. If they know that they can approach you and openly share their feelings, thoughts and experiences that is a great springboard for their future online safety.
Remember as a parent you have a lot more knowledge and experience than you probably give yourself credit for!