know 2 grow
FOR RAISING A DIGITAL NATIVE
By Kelly N. Moore, Psy.D.
“Why do these kids post every little thing they do?!” “They don’t know how to communicate socially anymore!”
ound familiar? Welcome to the world of “Common Phrases Parents Say To Convey How Much They Don’t Understand The World of Digital Natives!” Whew- that’s a long title, but it’s pretty accurate. If you are reading this article, and currently parenting a young child, tween, or teen, you are parenting a “digital native”- a child that will never know what the world was like before the internet, except through books or film (which they will be streaming, by the way). In a 2015 Pew Research Center study, 94% of teens identified using the internet at least once per day, with 24% of them reporting that they are online constantly on a daily basis. Social media, in particular, has resulted in excess access to each other, day and night. Technology provides them with the means to connect with each other, express their creativity, engage in activism, and be entrepreneurial. But, they are still children and can be negatively influenced by each other when in groups and may struggle with considering the long term impact of their choices of how much they share online. With that in mind, internet safety starts with us as parents being aware of what and how our children are communicating through technology. To the right are some things to consider to ensure that your child stays on the right side of safe use of the internet and social media.
1. Stop resisting and get familiar: Although it may not be necessary for you to use the same sites that your kids use, it doesn’t hurt to get familiar with their most popular sources of social media, like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc. In this time we are living in, you may not get very far by making a fuss about how much you hate social media. Like any other privilege you give to your children, it’s better to know how these sites work, and provide some rules about your child’s use. And these are YOUR children, so don’t be shy to grab their phone every once in a while for a “tech check” to make sure their online behavior is consistent with your established standard. 2. Teach them to have a filter: By “filter” here, I am not referring to the shade of their posted pictures. Rather, teach your children about how to filter how much they share about their lives on social media, online gaming, etc. Posting their location, their possessions, or even details about their families, can result in them being open for others to prey upon them. 3. Don’t forget about online gaming: In the same Pew study, boys identified online gaming as their primary source of use of the internet. They can play with friends or strangers all over the world. Be sure to set some standards and cruise by the couch every once in a while to make sure they are engaging appropriately when playing online.
These tips are a great start, but the most important part of this matter is the communication you have with your child. Set an atmosphere where you can talk to them about their internet/technology use, and you will have a foundation to help them develop a healthy use of technology.
18 | November/December 2017
4. Use technology to your advantage: Parental controls are for more than just your cable TV programs. When you purchase new devices for your children, be sure to use the various settings to set limits on usage times or sites, track l ocations, etc. Obviously, this isn’t necessary for every child for every device, but this is about us as parents taking stock of our child and giving them the amount of freedom consistent with their age and maturity level. 5. Practice what you preach: This is self-explanatory. Your online footprint should be consistent with what you would want from your child: age-appropriate, responsible, and some degree of restraint.
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