The biggest challenge for digital age parents is to keep their children away from the digital world. As parents, we want to educate our kids with the latest developments but exposing kids to technology has its own challenges too.
The biggest challenge is to ensure that children use digital technology only to their advantage and they don’t end up misusing it. So, how should you be parenting your child to ensure the child develops the right balance of learning and growing using technology?
There are usually three categories of parents in the digital world:
- Parents as limiters: There are some parents who limit their child exposure to internet and technology totally in the early formative years. They are very strict about not letting their kids use mobile phones, iPads, or computers.
This approach is decent enough to provide a healthy natural environment to the child to learn and grow, but, this approach seldom lasts. With all kind of peer pressure, a child eventually chooses to latch on to smart phones and ipads.
- Parents as mentors: Some parents like to guide their kids about what they should watch online. Such parents prefer exposing their kids to digital stories or activities with moral or life lessons. Such kids are digital learners under the supervision of their parents who are their digital mentors. But, even in this case it is seen that digital exposure in kids increases with age as they tend to explore more once they get introduced to digital world.
- Parents as providers: There is a third category of parents too who are digital providers. Their kids are digital orphans who are left to explore things on their own. Such parents are either not digitally literate themselves but want their kids to keep abreast with all technological developments, or have lack of time to be watchful of what kids are doing online.
Such kids have more chances of getting exposed to both good and bad things online and they are usually glued to smart screens all the time.
We have seen all three approaches of digital parenting but each approach is eventually leading to kids depending more on technology for learning and entertainment than otherwise. So, now the question is, ‘what should the right way to approach digital learning in kids?’
Well this is the most sought after question these days, and most parents like you are looking for an answer to this.
The best way to address digital exposure in kids is to limit its use to learning primarily rather than allowing it to be used for entertainment. Watching moral stories, productive arts and crafts activities, learning about geography, watching motivational movies online will make a positive impression on the minds on young children, so they should be allowed to watch them. But, digital exposure should be allowed for only once or twice a week. At the max, 2 to 3 hours of window for digital learning is good enough. Moreover, the use of gaming apps should strictly be restricted in kids.
It is best to synchronize the online learning activities on television for kids to watch them comfortably on a bigger screen, which will put less strain in their eyes.
Though, digitalisation is an inevitable part of our society but we must keep it restricted in kids until they grow up to become independent beings.