I grew up in the 80’s….I didn’t have a need to play games on a phone, didn’t know what a computer was, and barely knew that pagers were the biggest thing when I was about to be in high school. Today….3 year olds can play games on your phone and know how to operate snap chat like it’s nothing. My son can do things on the cell phone that I had no idea could be done. With the world being so digital how do we protect our children.
My 7 year old was caught watching videos on youtube that had a lot of graphic content. Not too graphic but a lot of kissing and stuff. The hubs caught her last year and we put a stop to her and took her iPad. Then a few months ago I found out she was watching it again. Now you can’t get your pad unless you are in front of me. See she starts off watching one video and then goes to the other suggested videos until she gets to wherever and whatever and that’s not good. Since I don’t know how to do the parent controls on youtube I had to go to my 10 year old….he knew how to do it.
Now my 10 year old is friendly. Everyone is his friend and he will give people his number…like anyone. He plays xbox online and when I looked he had given his number to random strange people he played xbox with. I had to have a long talk with him and now he is banned from talking on his phone or texting and I have to see his phone daily. Oh and don’t erase it….I can go and check on my phone bill so he knows that I am not playing.
Parenting in the digital world isn’t easy. I didn’t want to get my son a phone until he was 12 but since I had to pay for the hubs phone (we were in a contract and the phone was in my name) I had to pay for it so I might as well give it to him. I spoke to him before I gave him the phone about giving out your number and talking to other people but does he listen…apparently not. So how do you combat this new technology world? Here are a few tips:
Know how to navigate the online world – As parents we have to stay abreast of what’s going on and we have to be aware of things. We can’t sit and say we don’t know how to do certain things online…we have to learn. I don’t know how to do a lot of things either but I have to keep up and read online tech magazines so that I can know what to do and how to do it. Youtube is your friend to find out whats going on with the various technology devices. Snapchat is huge with teenagers! My son is not allowed to use the app on his phone. He can use it on my phone but on his phone it’s banned until I feel he is responsible enough not to showcase things that he shouldn’t be showcasing. Try out all the social media channels and see how they work. If you don’t know about snapchat and you have teenage daughter on there it might be best if you see how it works and learn the ins and outs. Also if your child has social media make sure you get a page and follow them. Which brings us to my next point..
Respect their privacy – I am all about respecting their privacy but see…here is the thing….if I pay for your cell phone bill I have the right to follow you on social media channels to make sure you are protecting my privacy. You see this privacy thing is a two way street. I don’t want people to see where I live or whats in my house….when you snap don’t show the insides of my house….honey you don’t pay no bills round here so therefore I don’t want my house all up and down social media so that’s my privacy that you are violating. So I figure if you are going to snap and show my stuff the least I can do is make sure you aren’t giving away too much and that I can see what you talking about. Yes I need to follow you but I will give you the freedom to do as you want within the guidelines of safety. I won’t call you out on social media if I have a problem but will instead make sure I address it with you in private so as not to embarrass you.
Set an example – Most online kids bully a lot. I know this is the digital world but the apple normally doesn’t fall to far from the tree. Kids who bully has seen bullying in some form. It’s normally from the main caretaker or someone they are around a lot. Bullying online happens for kids and adults and it’s sad that people have so much to say behind a computer screen. Here is the thing…..you are behind a screen. I can’t punch you out or meet you after school but I can delete and block you. That delete and block button are my friends. I don’t even respond to foolishness most of the time it’s a waste of my energy. So many people want to argue with fools when you can let them argue with themselves. If you find that a child is bullying your child or if your child is being the bully put a stop to it immediately. If I find out that my child is bullying….I will reprimand my child and there will be consequences. If someone is bullying my child I will first let the parents know if it’s someone we know and after that I will leave it alone. Delete and block and if the kids go to the same school we will have a meeting because I like to do things the legal and right way first before I do it my way.
Talk to other parents – I talk to other parents who have a difference of opinion when it comes to their kids doing things online. Some parents are relaxed and think oh I monitor my child nothing will happen. You have other parents who don’t even let their kids have a electronic device. It varies, but I like to make sure I am keeping up with other parents so that if there is something going on that has escaped me (new lingo, new technology apps, what the kids are talking about, etc) I can make sure I am on top of it. You will be surprised by what you know and what you don’t know when you talk to others. You can always stand to learn a thing or two.
We can’t stop technology. I feel that by the time I have grandkids online elementary school will be the new thing and there will be no need for book bags anymore everyone will be required to have a tablet or computer to learn. It’s the way he way of the world and we have to adapt and change with it. Use old school ways to still teach kids things in this new digital world.