Good Digital Parenting
Blog | May 8, 2014

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day: Give the Gift of a Digital Lesson

Founder, Parents' Universal Resource Experts, Inc

This Sunday, mothers across the country will be celebrated by their loved ones. And in June, it’ll be time to recognize fathers. Kids of all ages will take time to pause and give thanks to their parents on these special days. 

But for younger kids who don't have jobs yet, money may be a bit of an issue. Thankfully, even if a teen or young adult is working, many parents prefer the gift of time. 

Most people will say that our children are very tech-savvy and sometimes, dare I say, more cyber-slick than their parents. So, it's a great time for kids of any age to give their parents the gift of a digital lesson in cyber-skills

It not only gives families time together, but think of how much you can learn from each other and, for parents, about your child's social media and networking preferences. 

This will open the door for you to ask questions about their virtual friends, how they decide who to “friend,” and if they struggle with online harassment or other difficulties that they may not have shared with you before. 

After all, you are learning from them! 

Of course they probably won't think to give you this gift, so this is your chance to bring it up to them. It only costs them a little bit of their time and cyberspace expertise. 

Ideas they can teach you: 

Facebook: 

  • Have them educate you on their privacy settings. This will also give you an idea of what settings they have in place. 
  • How to limit who sees their photo albums, comments, etc. 
  • How to block people; tagging is set to be approved by you. 
  • Who their friends are on social media and how to determine who is appropriate to send friend requests to online. 
Twitter: 

  • What is their handle? 
  • What do they use Twitter for, and how can it help you with your career or business? 
  • Help you set up an account. Maybe just to see what is happening in Twitter-verse, especially if your kids are there. 
Instagram: 

  • How to set my photos to private. Kids especially should have their accounts set to private.
  • How to turn off/on location sharing (again, especially for teens). 
  • Reviewing pictures together also gives you an opportunity to discuss questionable ones.
Cyberspace and opportunities for conversation: 

  • Apps: What are their favorites? Maybe share and help you set up a few. 
  • YouTube: Any favorite videos, and how and where do you share them? 
  • Chatrooms: Ask your kids if they visited any they found interesting. It’s a good opportunity to discuss strangers that can linger in these places. 
  • Online dating sites: Ask your kids if they have an opinion on them or have visited them.
  • Blogging: Ask your child if they have a blog. If they do, hopefully it’s contributing to a positive digital footprint for their future, and you will be able to encourage them to keep working on it. 
These are only some ideas to make your "Parent's Day" special to you and your child – no matter what their age. In many ways, it is more about bonding and getting to know each other virtually. Ensuring our loved ones are safe both offline and online is a family affair. 

A Platform for Good has many articles on digital safety and citizenship. Start browsing through them to get more ideas on what you would like your child to teach you on your special day! 

PS: As I mentioned earlier, your kids probably won't think of this, so you will have to ask them for this gift. 

Cover image courtesy of Flickr.