Before the Covid epidemic came, there were lots of parents worried about their children too much screen time, then, the coming Covid period made parents suffer more headaches when they constantly saw their children looking at the screen but do not know what to do.
Banning your child from using the Internet is impossible because by doing so, you are, in an extremely negative way, inhibiting your child’s access to valuable (and free) sources of knowledge and information online. Besides, many schools apply technology for students to learn online, without the Internet, your child will not be able to continue learning.
So how to reduce your child’s dependence on the device, reduce the negative impact and risk that the Internet brings to your child? The TOP 4 tips for parenting in the digital age (or called digital parenting) can help help you answer the above questions, helping your children use the Internet effectively especially during the Covid pandemic when your child is just staying at home.
TOP 4 tips for parenting in the digital age (Part 1)
Teach your child to really feel the impact of technology
It’s not enough to just teach your kids how to use technology. You need to let your child understand how technology makes them feel. Is that feeling is what I want to receive when using the Internet? Does regularly scrolling through Instagram on a regular basis make me become happier?
Your child should know how to take the time to think about how technology impacts their physical and mental health. When your child is using any social networking app, game, or viewing any website, don’t just ask him if he likes that app, game, social network, or website but also, ask them: How does it make you feel during and after using it? You can find more tips for parenting in the age of digital technology.
Here are some questions for you to ask your child:
- What thoughts, feelings, or urges made you pick up the phone or turn on the computer (after completing the homework)?
- When you surf the newsfeed of social networks, accessing a variety of content types, do you feel negative or positive? Would you like to see this content again?
- Do you feel that sitting in front of a screen all the time makes you tired, lethargic, and sluggish?
- What kinds of emotions often appear during and after you use the Internet?
Teach your children how to analyze the costs and benefits by asking “Why” questions
You should help your child to constantly ask why questions leading to the end result: Is this really what he wants to do/to see?
Tech companies are inherently good at engineering systems and having algorithms that keep users glued to their electronic devices, and it’s easy to become meaninglessly absorbed. This is not to mention the fact that social networking platforms work to improve complex algorithms to capture your child’s attention and convince your child to spend more time on these platforms.
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So, if your child is not intentional about how he spends his time online, technology is and will be controlling him without his knowledge. So, let your child understand that before your child picks up his phone, ask yourself the questions why:
- Is this what I really want to do?
- What do I use my phone for?
- Will it give me convenience or will it distract me? If I take the phone, what am I giving up? Is that trade-off worth it?
- Am I connecting with people I care about and care about me?
- Does what I’m doing make my study and work more convenient?
When adults purposefully use technology, children learn to do the same. To help your child perceive technology as a supportive tool rather than a tool to capture their lives, try sharing why you use your phone.
You can make comments like “I’m checking the weather to see if we can go out?”, “I’m using the computer a lot today to do work to earn money to buy milk tea for you”, “I’m checking to see if this message is from our acquaintances?”, or even “I need to relax and rest, but I’ll put the phone down in an hour.”
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Of course, it’s hard to purposefully use technology all the time – so when you find yourself surfing social media unintentionally, honestly acknowledge and confess what’s going on. out, for both yourself and your child. This is an example of self-discipline, honesty, and lets your child know that while it can be difficult, you and your child can both try to overcome the temptations of technology.
Content on the screen is more important than time on the screen
Almost every computer and the phone has a tool that measures your child’s screen time and can block their access to an application if the usage time has expired.
Many parents make the mistake of thinking that setting these features on their child’s device is enough, that the shortened and guaranteed usage time is the most important thing, but really, what’s happening on the screen is much more important.
The reality is parents who only care about screen time are often parents who do not understand much about technology. The content displayed comes in two forms: Content your child is exposed to (accidentally or your child intentionally find it) and content that your child post.
Some suggested questions for you to ask your child:
- Are you having “slot-machine” behavior? “Slot-machine” is the behavior of constantly surfing the web to check the likes and comments on your child’s posts.
- What value does the content you see online bring to you?
- Is there any content that makes you feel worry, upset, or obsesses? What is that? Where do you see it? After seeing this content, how do you feel?
- Do you feel that what you access on the Internet brings more positives than negatives?
- What is your reason for posting? How would you feel if a parent, relative, or teacher saw this content you post? Do you still want to post them?
- How do you feel when no one likes or comments on this post? Are you posting too much?
As for the content that shows up as the content your child posts, you need to teach them that what they send, share or post will live on forever on the Internet (even if they delete it later), teaches about what to do and what not to post (especially teenagers with sexting behavior – sending, sharing, posting revealing pictures/videos of themselves) and their consequences.
There was an increase in children selling sexual materials on OnlyFans to make money during Covid.
As for what content your child is exposed to, you have to be very careful with this type of content, especially pornography. Your child’s brain is not yet fully developed, so it is very susceptible to inappropriate content such as pornography so you should use an online content filtering tool – considered by many parents as one of the best free parental control software to hide 15 types of harmful content on the Internet, including:
- Horrifying content like gore, accidents, ghosts, violence, murder, terrorism, etc
- Content about stimulants, addictive substances such as alcohol, beer, marijuana, drugs, etc
- Content with aggressive elements, hurting others like Hate speech
This free porn blocker extension can help to minimize your child’s access to harmful content, ensuring a healthy online environment for your child but at the same time, not invading their privacy rights.
Good trade or bad trade?
Remind them that if they use technology properly, it’s a trade-off. If not, that’s the trade-off. Example of an exchange: with Google Maps, we are exchanging our location data with Google in return for the convenience of navigation. Most of the time, both you and your child are comfortable with that exchange.
However, some other exchanges require a great deal of reflection. In some cases where this exchange is negative, it is considered a bad trade. For example, can your child trade their time (to constantly see what others are posting) with time they can use to exercise?
For example, is it worth it for children to trade their relationships around with parents and relatives with constant use of the computer? At that point, the people around her may feel ignored and less important than what’s happening on her screen.
Some suggested questions for you to ask your child:
- Will using the computer regularly will still bring me the convenience that I want? And is it worth it?
- Is your child’s time using the computer being used optimally?
- Aside from technology, are there any non-technological ways your child can apply to their everyday learning?
- How does your child feel when he or she sees your parents regularly using an Internet-connected device? Do you want your parents to feel the same way?
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