Addressing Parental Guilt

Parental guilt is not something that we often read about in parenting books, but every parent wonders if they are doing enough, if their choices will affect their children positively, or if their child will grow up healthy and happy.

In today’s digital world, parents may also wonder if they know enough about technology and if they are able to support their families in this ever-increasing technology-filled environment. The most reassuring answer is that feeling guilt is natural, but parents shouldn’t judge themselves too harshly. There are ways to cope and to successfully raise a digitally-mindful family that can survive and thrive in the digital age.

  1. Your family, your rules. You don’t have to follow what your neighbors are doing, but you do have to make informed decisions for your family. Do your research, highlight your children’s strengths and then make the decision that allows your children to find opportunities that work for them.
  1. Don’t use social media as a measuring post. Social media shows the best of family life, but may sometimes offer a very narrow view of reality. Keep perspective and try not to measure your family against what you see online.
  1. Balance is hard for everyone. Show some self-compassion and realize that balance is difficult for all families. Everyone sets rules, has setbacks, and makes adjustments. The most important thing is to keep working on that balance.
  1. The pandemic has changed the rules. Digital parenting was challenging before the pandemic but this shared experience has changed the rules. Devices and access to technology became key resources as families turned to online learning, connecting with family, and remote work. Even though families may have relaxed rules or changed guidelines, monitor your families’ successes and strengths. 
  1. Set your family’s digital expectations. However you decide to move forward in the digital age, set the expectations for your family that are personalized for them. Be realistic and understand what will help your family thrive and what may impede their successes. As your real world expectations change, so should your digital expectations. 

Above all, remember that we are the first generation of parents that are dealing with the digital environment and that we are learning as we go. At FOSI, we have resources to support you, check out our top tips:

Written by

Dr. Elizabeth Milovidov

Dr. Elizabeth Milovidov is the founder of Digital Parenting, a resource for parents and caregivers.  

As a lawyer, law professor and child online protection expert with more than 20 years experience, she has advised government and child protection agencies, non-profits and think tanks on public awareness campaigns, research initiatives and public policy strategies related to digital safety, parenting, and wellbeing.

She has also held several key consultancies in Europe for the Council of Europe (Children's Rights and Education divisions), Microsoft EMEA (Digital Safety), European Schoolnet (Online Safety), and e-Enfance/INSAFE (French Helpline).

She is an international speaker on digital parenting and her work has been featured in BBC, France 24, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and other media outlets focused on child online safety and digital parenting.

Currently, she is Senior Corporate Counsel at the LEGO GROUP, where she provides legal support on implementing and promoting digital child rights, safety, wellbeing and citizenship in parallel with responsible digital engagement with children.