Almost every parent struggles to keep up with technology while kids seem to know all the latest gadgets and apps on the market. Keeping track of all the new developments can seem like a daunting task, especially when your kids are young and are using tech in ways their parents never thought of. Staying ahead of the curve is an impossible task but there are some simple things you can do to help raise tech savvy kids even if you don’t always have the tech answers they need.
Discuss the Pros and Cons of Tech
The number one tip for a reason. Communication is the best tool in your arsenal for keeping up with what’s going on in the tech world. You may not always know what the latest and greatest is or the dangers of it, but your kids likely do. Make sure they know you are available to talk about anything they encounter online. It’s a good strategy to head off problems before they develop. Talking about the pros and cons is a good way to keep a dialog open with your kids about the impacts of tech usage. It also helps give them a healthy view of tech use beyond what they learn from their peers.
Set the Rules
Kids should have a clear idea of what is expected and allowed with their tech use. Screen time and usage should be easily understandable and age appropriate for your child. There are lots of studies telling parents how much screen time is too much, but parents usually have a good idea when their kids are spending too much time in front of the screen. Setting an expectation and enforcing it helps kids with using tech in a responsible way as they grow older as well.
There are great apps out there to help parents monitor tech devices and set time and content restrictions. Apps are an easy way to keep tabs on usage time as well as content your kids are exposed to. It gives security to parents and a view into what your kids are using tech for. Don’t let apps be the only way you have to limit tech time or to see what your kids are up to since they can malfunction and sometimes bypassed. Use the apps as part of your overall plan to give you a little more peace of mind.
Experience the World
Take your kids to local tech conferences to expose them to new ideas and inspire curiosity. Tech isn’t just screens and devices and learning more about technology enriches both your child and you. See what things technology does for your community and for the wider world. Learning about tech together helps with communication and keeping you in sync with what your kid knows and what you might want to learn. Just don’t forget to spend time offline with your kids. Parents are just as bad about excessive screen time as their kids can be.
Besides going to conferences, learn about technology with your kid. Learn about new apps and devices together. Find new ways to do things with technology that you didn’t know about before. Use it as bonding time over something you both have interest in. This is also a good time to explore the boundaries of technology and what is and isn’t appropriate usage. Exploring together brings up many conversations without it sounding like parent lectures.
Help with School
Kids are exposed to more and more technology at school as they are being prepared for the fast-paced technology-based jobs that are available. Help them with school work to see what the school is teaching about tech. It also helps keep you up to speed about what tech kids need to know to get their school work done and helps you know what appropriate screen time will be based off school work load.
Limit Social Media Profiles
Check all your child’s social media profiles and double check the security setting on their accounts. Teach your kids the importance of security settings and how to be safe online. Show your kids how to use social media appropriately. How conversations in real life differ from conversations online. How to prevent cyberbullying and avoid problems coming from strangers.
Don’t Over Restrict Them
Not all tech is bad, and everyone isn’t out to get you and your kids. If you stop inappropriate content and spend time talking to your kids about tech and you will be doing just fine. Some parents overthink the technology their kids have and how they use it. If you have good lines of communication you can head off many problems before they start.
The take away is that you should realize that nothing is more powerful than just being involved in your kid’s life. You must watch how your children use tech, you have to be involved and, in the meantime, give them the opportunity to learn.
Keep the lines of communication open so they know they can bring you any issues they don’t know or are worried about. That’s how you’ll raise up your well-informed kids and limit the dangers of tech.
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