We often talk a lot about the ‘age of technology’, and how it’s so different from what the world was like when we were born. Today’s children aren’t just using technology, they’re sharing the time they spend on it… along with every other part of their lives.
Now, technology itself isn’t bad – but it’s advancing so quickly that many parents can’t keep up with the changes. We genuinely don’t know what’s risky and what isn’t, or what the long-term effects of an excessively social childhood will have on our children. As a result, we encourage erring on the side of caution. Here are some quick Do’s and Don’t’s for parenting in the social age.
- Limit your child’s access to technology each day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours each day for entertainment.
- Keep tabs on what they’re doing. Many children spend so much time online because it’s fun, interesting, and their parents aren’t watching what they’re doing. Monitoring their use of technology can help discourage this sense of absolute freedom – a sense they shouldn’t have to begin with because the internet isn’t nearly as safe as many children believe it is.
- Encourage them to have offline interests. Children who don’t have anything to do offline tend to develop Nomophobia, the fear of being out of contact with their mobile phone. On the other hand, if they have things they like doing offline, they aren’t going to find it so hard to put technology down.
- Blow off their concerns. If your child is used to having unlimited access to technology, they’re probably going to balk at the idea of losing it, and they’ll use any arguments they can to try and talk you out of it. Don’t just order them to hand their devices over – instead, explain why you want to limit access.
- Totally deny access. Technology is now a part of the business world, and new employees are expected to be familiar with how to use it. Totally cutting teens off from technology would be counterproductive.
Nobody ever promised that parenting would be easy. Here in the Social Age, though, it’s best to err on the side of caution. It’s always easier to give more access later than it is to impose new limits, and indeed, more access to technology can be a reward for demonstrating their mastery of technology.
For now, though, let’s take a look at some important statistics with this infographic.