Good old days. Remember? The days without digital world with real friends and family. So as we were born in “purana jamana” (that’s what our kids call us these days), we grew up chatting on the telephone which is now almost extinct. Our parents knew who we were talking to and we were even given time limits to chat. A common mantra was, “Get off the phone! Your papa needs to make a call!” Or it was, “Cut off the phone, we are not going to pay those lumpsum bills”. We had a common topic of boys and girls that we liked. And if mistakenly we heard a “click”, when we were talking, we quickly used to cut it off as it meant that someone was listening from the other extension. We weren’t perfect, but we were clean and clear.
Fast-forward, smart and open are kids these days who are into this virtual world of smartphones, iPads, laptops, youtube, video games and social media. Kids these days don’t talk, yeah because they text and post. Ironically, communication these days includes everyone, except “parents“.
Giving your child a cell phone and access to the internet without supervision is like giving him a car without telling the rules of the road. It is dangerous and irresponsible. So, a parental screening of a child’s behavior is always a good idea. So, if you are planning to get involved in your child’s digital world, here is how you can do it.
1. Aim for Balance : Kids ask for everything that their friends have these days. And the latest toy is a mobile phone. There is no denial to the fact that technology will stay and the world is becoming more digitally driven. In many cases, a balanced approach is followed to keep kids connected with real people in real time. There’s no single recipe for this. Watch for the signs of unhealthy technology usage and work accordingly. Stay connected with the kids in real and reduce face time.
2. Be a Role Model: Technology draws adults as well. We also check our phones every hour, keep on using it late hours for work or browse internet on laptops, binge watch our favorite shows and even use our phone while walking. Children will likely copy this behavior and compete with devices for our attention. So, it is important to set boundaries for work time and family time. Connect with your family after coming back from work. Have dine outs, outings, trips and focus on family when you are on vacations. Your work, your calls, emails and texts could wait until after you have finished that movie or game with your child.
3. Make technology a family affair : As you discuss important decisions for family vacations and new recipes, use tech. Set rules as a family. When you set limits with children, they learn to self regulate and know when screen time is interfering too much with the rest of their lives.Be involved with your child’s tech experiences. Playing or watching alongside with your children offers several benefits. You’ll be able to vet the content they are accessing, the child will learn more from the activity through your interaction, and you’ll bond through the shared experience.