We were on vacation last week and my boys had brought their LeapPads to pass some of the travel time. Being the super advocate on Internet and technology, I had loaded their kid tablets up with plenty of educational apps and games, so I thought I was one step ahead.
Imagine my surprise when my four-year-old started clicking photos and focused in on a little girl down the hall. I gasped, grabbed the tablet and told my son that we do not take pictures of other people without asking for their permission first. I slapped my hand to my head because it had totally slipped my mind that their little tablets were camera- and video-equipped.
Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to know that you are not alone in dealing with technology and parenting. I consult, teach, and coach others on Internet safety and best practices and yet even for me, it is not always easy.
But instead of playing the blame game and feeling like a bad parent, I realize that this happens. We cannot stay on it 24/7 and we cannot know the latest news on all technology, apps, and games. But we can stay relatively informed and try to nip things in the bud when they happen. You do not have to be an Internet safety advocate to use common sense when educating your children; you just have to apply your same offline parenting skills to a new online world.
Okay, so you’ve read everything, you’ve created screen limits, you’re following all the parenting tips, you’ve cleaned up your digital footprints, and yet your children still fight you over screen time, throw tantrums when you limit their gaming consoles, and overall just act like digital demons. What to do?
Well my digital parent friend, you take a deep breath, you realize that you are not alone, you know that support is just a click away, and you keep on parenting. You keep on doing what is right to raise a responsible digital citizen. And let’s not forget, it’s the same type of parenting that you were doing before, only now our children have more technology to play with.
Do you have any digital parenting tips to share? Such as how you overcame an issue or found a creative solution to a screen time or gaming problem? If so, please comment below. We are all in this together.
Cover image courtesy of Flickr.