Digital in its truest sense refers to the way technology processes information and data. The present digital age offers amazing benefits of educational, professional, social and economic opportunities and it represents a way of living and working. Digital media can be used for research, school projects, communicating with teachers and friends or even play interactive games by both adults and children.
Human advancement in technology has led to an outburst in a number of screen devices at multiple locations to view screens from homes, schools, restaurants, waiting rooms, etc. The powerful digital technology connects children to the world in new ways which can have positive and negative effects hence, it is a double-edged sword.
With the explosion of technology, what can parents do? How can parents ensure that children are getting benefitted by screen usage while at the same time reducing the side effects of screen on them? Children around the world are growing on the digital playgrounds and there is little we are doing on guarding them.
Saying that makes it important for parents to be aware of what children kids see and hear over the internet. Like the way, we talk about other safety issues, it is always wise to talk about our parental concerns over screen usage with the children. It is the responsibility of the parents to guide children’s media exposure, to look after the child’s health with respect to screen usage and also help in establishing a healthy media diet for the child.
Parents are powerful role models in their children’s lives. It is easy to dispense don’ts to children but it takes a strong character to give children a healthy role model to follow. Few suggestions are
- Setting limits to their own screen usage,
- Showing children how to use technology in a positive manner would build healthy media child relationship,
- By creating a family ritual where the entire family forbids using screens and devices from dinner afterwards,
- Spending quality time with the children by putting away the screens and devices.
So when children seek parent’s attention, they are really present and listening. Exercising a screen-free day for the entire family would bring the family members closer.
Being a positive role model requires conscious thought and self-control. As parents, we talk a lot about disciplining our children these days. We need to put equal emphasis on disciplining ourselves.
A digital parent wants children to recognize learning opportunities and the fun they can have through technology. But with all good things, parents have to set limits. On children, and on themselves.