Kids today are exposed to the digital world right from the time they are born. Whether it is parents documenting the lives of their kids or children refusing to eat without watching their favorite cartoons on the screen, digital mediums have become an integral part of parenting. This has not only changed parenting by leaps and bounds but also given rise to a new term called Digital Parenting.
So what is digital parenting?
With iGen getting immense exposure to the world wide web of the internet right from day zero on this planet, parents play a key role in influencing their child’s digital life. Digital parenting includes teaching kids the required computer skills, guiding them to use the internet safely and enabling them to be digital citizens.
But if you add tackling technology to it then the task becomes all the more daunting. Like everything else in our lives, this also has its own shares of pros and cons. Let us have a look at some of them.
Positive Effects of parenting in digital age
e-learning through Education tools
Today umpteen educational tools are available to make learning fun and interactive. The best part about these tools is that your child can sit at your home and get access to them at his/her fingertips and even interact with fellow students from around the world. As parents, you can help your children choose these tools based on their needs and interests. Some of the examples are Google Classroom, Khan Academy and Prezi.
Easy Access to Information
Children are curious at a young age. Their minds have myriad of questions that sometimes become either tiresome or difficult for parents to answer. Parents can give access to certain authentic sites that have a gamut of information to their children to look up all the answers that they want.
“One of the positive effects of raising a child in the digital age is that there's ready made information available for any queries you may have. It is helpful especially in terms of health and wellness.”
- Dhananjay Sahasrabuddhe, AVP, Amura Technologies.
Negative Effects of parenting in digital age
Lack of social skills
Unlimited access to digital media leads to interaction only with people in the virtual world. This leads to a lack of social skills among children. It becomes difficult for parents to have proper conversations with kids.
Internet addiction leads to a sedentary lifestyle which comprises little or no physical activity. This leads to health risks like anxiety, depression, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Susceptibility to cyber bullying and child pornography
There is no dearth of cyber bullies and pedophiles in the dark web. Young kids are most prone to being bullied online and their images can be used for pornography. It becomes pertinent for parents to save their children from malicious intentions of other users on the web.
“Gadgets, the internet and screens are addictive. Both for the parents and the kids. Knowing how to keep restrictions is tough. Also there are a lot of dangerous things that kids could easily get access to.”
- Avantika Chitlangia, Parenting and Lifestyle Blogger
As an active partner in the digital journey of your child’s life, there are a few things that you can follow to make the whole ride a smooth one for both of you.
- Set screen time limit and encourage playing outside.
- Delay social media presence for as long as possible.
- Observe how your child is using the digital platforms. Since the response of each child is different, it is important to treat them differently. For example, a child might watch the same episodes of his favorite show countless times and waste hours while another might just use YouTube to learn a few skills. Your response to both will be different.
- Take efforts to have parental blocks on usage of explicit content.
- Educate your children about cyberbullying and online safety.
- Encourage them to have real life connections.
"I think it’s quite a challenge as well as a blessing. Want to keep them distracted/busy or make them eat the greens? Making them watch something on the phone is a simple solution. At the same time, the fast and engaging fun content kids today have access to makes everything else boring for them. They’re not interested in board games, colouring, art and craft, outdoor activities as much as kids before - because today’s kids have access to a wide number of activities digitally!"
- Avantika adds on about how she feels about raising a child in the digital age.
Parenting in the digital age may seem unnerving at times but if one puts efforts in the right direction by imposing necessary controls and building connections with children, one can nurture a beautiful parent-child relationship.
“Both parent and child need to work that extra mile to not get distracted and give due respect to their relationship. Time needs to be consciously taken out from the busy schedules from the parents side while kids need to be taught to strike a balance.”
- Dhananjay adds on about how a parent child relationship gets affected in the digital age.
Let us know in the comments below how you are building a relationship with your child in this digital age.