TLC’s Parent Tips for Raising a Child in the Digital Age

Whether we like it or not, our children are growing up in the digital age.  Many parents struggle to understand how technology will change their children’s social and emotional lives.  Many children receive their first device at a pivotal point in their lives, when stressors such as peer approval play a huge role in their decision-making process.  Turning the screens off doesn’t make everything better.  Some types of screen-based activities are beneficial.  It is important to help your children learn how to safely use technology in the digital world.  Here are a few tips to teach your child healthy digital use.

Watch the Amount of Time You Spend on Digital devices.
Although your child may seem glued to the screen, their actions could be a reflection from your own behavior.  How often are you reading emails, or texting in the presence of your children?  It is important to be aware of your digital usage and be the best role model for your child.

Manage Screen Time
When you manage screen time, children are able to learn the importance of interpersonal relationships.  Help your children create a balance between technology and play time with peers.  Time away from the screen will enable your child to participate in unstructured play and stimulated creativity.  Make play time an everyday priority.

Set Rules for Bedtime
Digital devices take time away from the sleep that every child needs.  Set rules for the whole family to follow, no electronics in the bed room.  Let them charge outside the room overnight so there is no temptation to go on them.

Safety First
It is important children share their passcodes with you for their own safety.  It should be transparent with your children that you will check their device to make sure they are using digital devises safely and correctly.  There are also parental blocks you can enable on devices so your child cannot access certain content.

Create Tech Free Zones
Keep family time tech free.  No technology during dinner.  This is encouraging more conversation and family bonding.  With the removal of digital devises at the dinner table and family functions, this will encourage more face-to-face interactions.

Ask About Their Online Experiences
Ask your child about the online behavior they witness, how they feel about it.  Talk about the choices they make online to get them to think about responsibility in the digital environment.  “What would you do if a peer was being cyberbullied?”

The key is for parents to have enough flexibility to provide their children with what is appropriate for that particular child.  Moderation is the key. In a connected world, we need to be aware about what is out there and what our children have access to.  It is important to be confident that you have taught your children the proper use of their digital devises, and trust that they should come to you if any mishaps occur.  A healthy childhood isn’t found on digital devises.  Remember that family and school come first.

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