Every morning, the moment we wake up, the first thing we do, even before brushing our teeth, reaches for our mobile phones. Every person in the household, young or old is armed with a smartphone and so engrossed in it that it takes an effort to disengage them.
Children are no exception to this and are in fact the easiest preys as they simply imitate elders. Gone are the days of routine, discipline, and exercise. Now, these are the days of WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram!
So what should we do? Dump all technology as trash?
Obviously not. Using technology in moderation and in the right way is the key to improving our life. Raising children in a world of technology is a challenge as Technology is a double-edged sword which we cannot do away with or do without. Here are 10 important tips for raising children in a world of technology.
Encouraging the use of technology in the right way
We are in a world of incessant technological innovations. Every minute, technology is getting upgraded and outdated. If our kids don’t catch up, they will feel left behind in this rat race. To survive in this world, children should have the latest know-how of tech trends.
Encourage children to learn the use of the right kind of tech devices which are essential for their life. Children should be familiar with the use of email, internet, operation of home security systems etc. In the case of an emergency, technology can be a powerful weapon to have on hand.
Using technology in moderation and by example
Forget cigarettes and alcohol. Smartphones are what a majority of children are addicted to nowadays.
Children should be made to understand that technology is a bane if used in excess. Explain to them the health and lifestyle issues that a child may face by using technology 24×7 like sleeplessness, obesity, poor academics etc. Emphasize the importance of exercise, sports, academics and family time.
Lead by example and strictly practise what you preach. Do not sit up with your laptop or phone until late hours. Be the example for your child to emulate in using technology. Otherwise, their excuse will be “you do it, so why can’t I?”
Staring at computer, TV, and mobile screens for too long is unhealthy and often times the children get sucked into a fantasy world that isn’t real. Beware of this and use the net with caution.
Use age restrictions for using social media
Social media channels like Facebook and Instagram earmark 13 years as the minimum age to use them. Others like Reddit, Tumblr, and Discord have content not suitable for children of all ages. Enforce the same at home. Strictly prohibit the use of social media below 15 and insist on total honesty and transparency in their usage. Do not entertain the use of social media through false accounts.
There are umpteen social sites out there such as Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, Pinterest, etc. Not all of them restrict content to filter it accordingly. It is up to you as the parent to analyze what your child is watching and take the appropriate actions.
Have schedules and control over what your child does
Clearly, mark the hours of technology usage. For instance, allot a single hour of 5 – 6 PM every day for TV for the child. If there are two kids, insist on sharing or taking turns. Install parental control in your TV and limit the programmes children can watch. Insist on you having access to their emails and social media accounts so that you can watch their cyber footprints.
Prohibit children from taking phones to school. Insist on knowing their passwords and frequently use their phones to check on their social media presence. The internet is not all sunshine and rainbows, so you need to block access to certain sites for a good reason. You can read our post on Keeping Your Child Safe Online for more.
Highlight the demerit of technology as a distraction
Continuous surfing on the internet, talking on the phone, or Whatsapp chats will only cause delay to the school or office, leave homework or office work unfinished and diminish your self-repute. Explain to children that technology can be a major distraction and hence must be restricted.
Children use it so much to the point where grades and real life friendships suffer. This is unacceptable and needs to be stopped.
Life does not run on likes or shares
Children these days are desperate for Facebook or Instagram likes. It is an unhealthy and sometimes dangerous obsession.
Counsel them saying that flattery and praise are fickle and the true realization should be from within. Getting depressed over poor social media following has become a trend for teenagers today.
You are not your Facebook likes or Twitter followers. You are you, and social media should not define you. Teach your kids the same and ask them to like themselves for what they are and not for what others see in them.
All that is on the internet is not true
Children often do research on the internet for their school projects. Teach them to differentiate credible information from false. There are lies, falsehoods, and half-truths.
Teach your children that just because they read something on the internet, it doesn’t make it true. There is a lot of fake news floating around on Facebook, WhatsApp, and the like. It is important to be cautious and perform research instead of just sharing everything you see.
Most of the content is opinionated and only some are backed by statistics. Teach children to look out for credible information from scholars like whitepapers and use them.
Technology cannot replace personal relations
A smartphone can help you converse for hours but it cannot become your family. Teach kids the value of family ties and relations and the importance of personal relations.
The online world may seem like a fun and exciting place where you can be anything. However, no matter what, real life is real life. Kids tend to use the online realm as an escape from real life problems. Sit down and talk to your child. Have
Make technology the problem solver
Encourage kids to use technology to seek and solve problems in academics and in daily lives. Ask them to question what purpose technology serves each time they use it. This will help them be the right judge in using them.
You can find answers to almost everything on Google. All you need to do is look.
Use technology for education
Sure, you can find games and fun content on the web. The internet is also an ocean of information if you use it rightly. It has videos and tutorials on building robots, coding, innovation, and basically anything else you can think of.
Apart from gaming or entertainment sites, your children can use sites to learn new stuff. Just search for it on Google and you will probably find the answer. Even YouTube has a lot of instructional and informative videos.
There are also websites such as Let’s Practise that are really resourceful in helping kids with their academics through practiced learning. We offer practice sheets and mock exam papers as well.
Technology is tied to our lives today. Let us make children use it judiciously through awareness, counselling and example. Contact Let’s Practise for more information.