Successfully navigating parenting paradoxes in the technological landscape that is modern life.

Parenting with Technology

Parenting with Technology helps parents understand the issues relating to connected devices that face families today.  We identify some of the pitfalls and present some creative ideas to deal with them in constructive, positive ways while understanding that technology is here to stay and can benefit the family if used responsibly.  It is our opinion that by teaching proper online etiquette and promoting healthy device use we can help our children and ourselves become better digital citizens who are happy, healthy and successful.

8 tips for Parenting, with Technology

1: You don’t have to give your kids a device or withhold one from them just because someone is pressuring you to do so.   Parent Your Way, the way that suites you, your family and the family culture you are trying to create.  Ignore the noise that is parenting advice and do what you feel is right for your kids.  If you always do it your way, you alone own your successes and your failures.  It is going to be OK.  With or without tech, your family will be fine if you are thoughtful and do your parenting with love, kindness and a well thought out plan.  You won’t be perfect, no one is, but your kids will know you love them enough to try.  (Read the full post here)

2: Use the device and the software before you hand it over to your kids, play the games to judge if they are appropriate. Your kids will be safer, you will be more confident in letting them use that device, and you might just have some fun…  (Read the full post here)

3: Everyone needs to be careful and thoughtful when they post something online, especially photos.  Teach your kids to be aware of the metadata like GPS coordinates that could be attached to the photo and used against them.  Teach them how to control those settings, control that data, and turn it off or remove it after the fact if needed.  An excellent resource to help you do this is "A Parents Guide to Instagram"  This and many other steps you can take to keep your kids safe online are available at www.connectsafely.org .  I have found this site to be very useful and refer to it often.

4: When it come to the content of their photos, remind them that good digital citizens are always aware of the people in the photos they post.  Not just the people who are the subject, but also the ones in the background.  Try not to post something negative, or that could harm, embarass or offend.   Remind them that they have little or no control of who views their posts.  Never post anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see.  (Read the full post here)

5: Its important for parents to friend or follow your kids online so you can watch them.  The rule should be that mom or dad always have to be connected to every social media account (friend, follower whatever).  Mom and Dad in return, NEVER post anything to their accounts.  No likes, no smileys, nothing or you will embarrass them.  If you both agree that you can be a follower and then you never post, comment or click anything in any way, not only will you never do anything that will embarrass them and drive them further away, they will probably forget that you are there.  (Read the full post here)

6: If you are having a tech problem in your family it probably isn’t the tech, it is the family culture that needs to be addressed.  Set some boundaries and enforce them.  Don't give in to your kids just to shut them up, and don't give up because it seems to hard.  Teach your kids to be good digital citizens by word AND by deed.  Show them with your own actions the correct way to hand the responsibility of online interaction and access.  If you teach your kids to be mean to others or to swear, by acting that way when you think they are not looking, they will grow up that way, but if you teach them kindness, patience and love by your example and your lessons, that will be what they know.  (Read the full post here)

7: Your kids are not smarter with technology than you are.  They are just more motivated and with a better support group.  Parents use the concept that kids are better with technology as a copout so that they don't have to take responsibility and do the hard work of parenting.  When kids need to get past an obstacle, commonly something keeping them from doing what they want online, like a rule or a block or something they think is unfair, they first ask their friends how they got past it, if they don’t have a working solution, they simply google it.  As the parent, be as tenacious as your kids, be as motivated and as creative.  You can do this, you have more education and more experience than they do, so you are smarter.  Be as motivated as they are, get the help you need by asking for it, surround yourself with people who can help, and if you can't find a solution, Google it.  Giving up and claiming defeat is easier, but good parenting isn’t always easy (Read the full post here)

8: You and your kids need a place where you can always connect with each other.  Pick a space in your home and designate it as a device free area.  No phones, no tablets, no handhelds, no TVs.  Then enforce it for both parents and kids. Having a place where you both can go and have the others attention is a blessing everyone will gain from it  For us, it is the dining room table, it may be somewhere else for you.  Where it is doesn't matter, just THAT it is.  It is where we do homework, set the schedule, discuss our thoughts and feelings, share a meal, and debrief our day together. No distractions, no intrusions, no text messages, facebook, snapchat or phone calls.  It may seem silly or inconvenient to have to ignore your phone and focus on your family, but the time you send with them, truly present and WITH them is priceless.  (Read the full post here)