Digital Citizenship for Parents

The one thing that all experts are all agreed upon, is the need to prepare children for the technlogical world.

WHEN TO UNPLUG -WHAT WORKS FOR YOUR FAMILY?

Parents are going to have to set the example so that children can develop good habits when using technology. This means deciding when to unplug and sticking to it. There are no hard and fast rules. It’s depends what works best for your family. It could be mealtimes, it might be bedtimes. It may also be car journeys or restaurants. Parents need to make the conscious decisions about when is a good time to for everyone to unplug and to have family time, strengthening relationships with their children. This is  hugely important for healthy child development.

It's not scientifically proven yet but there are concerns that over-using technology as a babysitting service is going to cause problems such as problems with attention, and ability for delayed gratification. It is believed attention is like a muscle, that can be developed. Tuning out distraction to focus on one is very helpful if it can be utilized in different ways. But computer games are designed to keep your attention so you don’t necessarily learn how to do this for yourself or apply it to other situations. 

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DIGITAL OVERLOAD

For some children every day life or school life can seem boring compared to the spectacle of virtual reality they can access on their digital devices. Visual graphics and special effects overload can make processing information that is delivered in the classroom very challenging. This is because if children have become used to being over stimulated from computers they can find it difficult to process lower-level of stimulation. This is not going to prepare them well for success in the world. A balance must be found. The artificial world provides no dull moments at the moment it becomes quiet children crave entertainment. 

Children don't want to help in the kitchen or tidy up their toys because this is basic monotonous work which they reject.Parents are can be so busy that the easy option is to give their children digital gadgets to make them busy to. When children play outside in the natural environment they can learn and practice their social skills and often technology replaces this outdoor time.

SOCIAL SKILLS

Digital gadgets are not usually used to develop social skills. And yet most successful people in life have great social skills and this should be the priority for young children. Families can use digital media to play together because this encourages social interaction, bonding and learning at the same time. So playing videogames with children is a good way to demonstrate sportsmanship. There may be opportunities to introduce and share your own life experiences as you play the game.Teaching and modelling kindness and good manners because children are great mimics.

The brain is trainable and we trainable. If you want to ride a bike you learn bike riding skills, if you want to learn patience, you must teach your child to wait. If you want your child to be able to socialise you need to teach social skills. The same applies to all other skills.Too much technology can also disconnect children emotionally from their families. And this deprives them of the nutrition they need for healthy brain development. Parents need to think about their children's screen time in terms of what it may be displacing. Are they online instead of playing with their friends? Are they checking their phones instead of having a polite conversation with people in the room? If devices are replacing human interaction parents should be concerned. And they need to show a good example by demonstrating the balance use in their own device use. 

SETTING RULES

As a parents in this digital world there are some new rules that we ought to learn for ourselves in order that we can effectively teach them to our children. Children's digital literacy is strongly linked to parent or Internet use. Although parents underestimate mate the extent to which their children learn by modelling their parents online behaviours. Older siblings are also potential source of info Internet role model. Sometimes offering protectiveness to their younger siblings but they may also offer wider access to age inappropriate material to their younger brothers and sisters.

DAILY ROUTINES

It's okay to have a schedule that includes mealtimes, sleep times and technology time. It's okay for parents to think about what is good for their children not about what they want or they don't want. They will thank you for it later in life. Parenting is a hard job and it takes creativity to give them what is good for them because a lot of the time that may could be sit opposite of what they actually want. The basics are still the same children need nutritious food time spent outdoors and consistent bedtimes. You can teach children to tidy up toys, set the table and make their bed. Initially, you may need to make it fun so it’s associated with something positive. You can teach them social skills such as how to take turns, to share how to lose and win how to compromise and how to complement others how to use please and thank you.

Conclusion 

Unplugged time equals creativity.

Parents should remember that it is okay for children to have some time to feel to experience feeling bored, this is the first step to creativity. Digital media use like all other activities should have reasonable limits. Unstructured and off-line play stimulates creativity. Have an plugged playtime every day especially for very young children and try to join your children in this unplugged play whenever possible. It may be a good idea to create tech free zones.It's a good idea to turn off televisions that when you're not watching them because background TV can get in the way of face-to-face time with your children.Gradually increase the waiting time between I want and I get.  

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Do you have any good tips for managing your family's screen time?

Kim Mackenzy Andrews
Kim Mackenzy Andrews

Kim is a children's author, nature writer, photographer and artist. Kim is a patch reporter for the BBC wildlife magazine. Find her nature blog at CountrysideKim.com

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