It’s 2020 and there’s and a whole new year of digital parenting ahead. Out with the old and in with the new. In other words, if last year found you complaining that your kids spent more time playing Fortnite rather than building actual forts, or that they communicated with emoji’s more often than words, then it’s time for you to resolve to grab the digital bull by the horns.
Make this the year you help your children build a healthy relationship with technology and reconnect with you.
This is easier than it sounds. Simply start by resolving to do these three things:
1. Never Say, “I’m Not Very Techy” Ever Again.
Technology is ubiquitous, so saying you’re “not very techy” is analogous to claiming you don’t breath air. Chances are you’ve “Googled,” asked Siri for directions, tapped out a text message, or answered a ringing cellphone. Heck, you’ve probably even “liked” a cat video or two on Facebook.
So face it, by simply living in a technology-enhanced world, you’re “techy” whether you realize it or not. Claiming you “don’t know a thing” about technology is not a valid excuse for excusing yourself from at least attempting to help your children navigate new technological terrain.
2. Embrace the Fact that the Most Important Digital Skills are Social Skills.
Learning how to swipe, download an app, send a group text, or even give Snapchat a fake birthdate is easy. Kids can do any of the above without your help at all. What they do need help with is knowing how to use technology safely and wisely. For example, recognizing when someone needs a kind word online, knowing what photos are appropriate to post to Instagram, or understanding that midnight is simply too late to be sending text messages to friends–these are the sort of things kids do need help with.
Online decisions require offline skills, like empathy, good judgment, compassion, and respect. Your lived experience on this earth make you the perfect person to teach these “digital” life skills to your kids. They will rely on these human capacities to make good decisions when they do join online communities that are devoid of rules and role models.