5 Steps to Raise and Nurture Healthy Digital Citizens
In a world of ever-present screens where screens have become our kids’ favorite companions, the topic of kids’ screen time demands our attention and urges us to rethink our approach as we foster a generation of responsible and mindful digital citizens. That’s why today I want to share with you five insightful steps that have proven instrumental in my own tech-positive home. In the ever-evolving landscape of parenting in the digital age, the challenge to cultivate healthy digital habits is a pressing concern for many families. Read on to learn the 5 steps you can take today to raise and nurture healthy digital citizens.
5 Steps to Help You Raise and Nurture Healthy Digital Citizens
As a devoted mom and experienced educator navigating the complexities of raising two tech-savvy kids, I’ve come to appreciate the effort required for effective digital parenting. The 5 tips I’m about to share with you will not only empower you as a parent, it can also contribute to our collective effort to nurture the healthy digital citizens of tomorrow. Let’s embark on this adventure together and I’m sure you’ll witness the positive transformation in your children’s relationship with technology. Read on!
Foster Open Communication
Foster open communication by sparking meaningful conversations. Reflect on your family’s media use and talk to your kids about the media they encounter and create. Get your kids talking about how to be safe and responsible digital citizens. Openly talk about how much screen time is too much. Talk about how your actions online can affect others. Talk about what they see and share online. Talk about cyberbullying and discuss the pros and cons of social media use, once your kids reach the appropriate age. The key here is to create a safe space so your kids will always want to come to you with their questions and concerns about their digital lives. It’s never too early to start this conversation!
Your kids can learn so much from you but you can also learn so much from them! Get involved in the latest video game craze or sit and watch their favorite YouTube videos together. Let them teach you how to use a new educational app or play an online game together. Instances like this will give you a good glimpse into what your child is doing online and where their interests are. Even further, create some fun family traditions like family video game night, or YouTube cooking night! Shared screen time will give you the opportunity to be in it together. This will help you build a tech-positive experience for your family as you raise and nurture healthy digital citizens.
Activate Smart Screen Time
If done right, screen time can be one of your biggest allies as a parent when you’re looking to nurture your child’s development and build their skills. Sure, this might be an unpopular belief but I stand by it. There’s no use in resisting screen time, instead, embrace the power of smart screen time and identify educational apps, videos, and other kids’ media that can support your efforts and inspire your kid to learn and grow. Teach them to use their screens positively and productively! Screens can become great tools to help them master practically any skill and explore any area of interest. This website alone is filled with great suggestions for great apps and other quality media to use when learning at home with your kids!
I also suggest doing your homework by checking out media reviews from websites with authority in this area, such as Common Sense Media. They provide great resources and media reviews that can help educate you as a digital parent and make it easier to identify online content that’s appropriate and smart for your kids to consume regularly. And don’t forget, talk about these smart screen time options with your kids! Since you’re already following step 1, and having open communication about what it means to be a good digital citizen, you won’t have a problem talking with your kids about how to make smart screen choices.
Set Boundaries Around Tech Use
By building tech-positive experiences you are empowering your kids to take ownership of their own digital lives! That does not mean that you aren’t setting boundaries to help guide them as they build healthy tech habits. What it means is that you are being intentional and thoughtful in the boundaries that you set. Think about why you are setting those rules. How are these guiding and helping your kids as you nurture and raise healthy digital citizens?
Take some time to set rules and boundaries around what is needed and expected. I encourage you to create the rules and routines that work best for your family. Also, keep in mind that these rules and boundaries may be ever-changing as our kids learn and grow. Every family is different! I encourage you to talk with yours and together create your own ways to support healthy digital citizenship in your home. As an example, below are just a few of the rules and routines we follow in our home. Currently, these are helping me guide my kids as they practice and build healthy habits around their use of cell phones (and tablets).
No phones at the dinner table or during family meals
The internet is shut-off from 8PM until 7AM
No phones or tablets in the bedroom overnight.
All technology (and other gadgets, watches, etc.) stay in the living room for charging overnight.
Find Your Own Tech Balance
I’ll say it again, every family is different! And to find your own tech balance you’ll have to put in the work. Think of yourself as a mentor empowering your kids to become responsible digital citizens. Allow them ownership of their digital lives by including them in the conversation and work as a mentor to guide them as they find the games they want to play and the apps they want to use. Build tech-positive experiences and work with your kids to make the rules. All of these suggestions will help you find your family’s own tech balance as you raise and nurture healthy digital citizens. You’ve got this!
Want to learn even more about how to raise and nurture healthy digital citizens?
Join me for a conversation with Akshata Rao of Juni Learning as we talk about the ever-evolving landscape of tech parenting. I hope our conversation will help you gain valuable insights into how to navigate the digital world as a parent. Don’t miss out—hit that play button now!