ARTICLES, INTERNET SAFETY. FACTS ABOUT CYBER BULLYING
5 Practical Tips for Parenting Teens in the Digital Age
Nowadays, for a majority of teens, their virtual world is an extension of their real life. Media and digital devices are fast becoming an essential part of their world. They are growing up digital. So, it is vital to help them learn the concept of the right digital use and parents play an important role in imparting this education.
If these digital devices are used moderately and properly, it can be great. As parents, we need to show how to build a sane balance between digital and real-world interactions. Studies show that face-to-face time spent with family, friends, and teachers play an important role in promoting teen’s learning and healthy development. And hence, striking the right balance becomes important.
In this post, we will discuss some useful survival tips for teens’ parents on today’s digital battlefield. Use these tips to save your teen from getting lost behind the media and technology stream.
1) Talk to Your Teens Regularly
There is no best time to start a conversation with your teens about their digital life. One most important thing that you can do as a parent is to have regular conversations about your teens’ digital life.
Try to understand how they are using the internet and how they would like to be supported. It will help you to be better prepared to help them deal with in case of e-safety issues. This will also protect them from unwanted trolling and stalking.
You can even establish an acceptable family internet usage contract to help your teens learn how to best use the internet to enhance their lives online. Always remember, these days, teens spend almost more than a third of their day on social media or other online activities.
So, it’s important that as parents, we take the time to provide proper parental guidance to help our teens navigate the digital world.
2) Proactively Track and Limit Access
As per the research done by the Pew Research Center, 39% of surveyed parents had used parental controls or other technological tools to block certain websites and apps. Always remember, don’t put stringent restrictions on teens. Otherwise, they are more likely to engage in unsafe online behaviour.
Teenagers usually know the loopholes. So, your tech-savvy teen can disable cookies or clean browsing history. They easily find a way to access the content they want to. So, if you put more pressure on them then they will try to hide their online behaviour.
To protect your teen from risky online behavior, you can set up a home router with parental controls, you can establish non-negotiable electronic usage rules, and can limit their screen time.
You can bridge the gap between safety and freedom by setting up a fair system for how teens use their devices and how to best monitor their behaviour while maintaining a sense of liberty. You shouldn’t toss your teen a device without giving them any knowledge about how to correctly use it.
3) Teach Your Teen the Three “Ws.”
Before your teen posts anything on social media, encourage them to spot check and ask themselves WHY, WHO, and WHAT.
Who is your audience (Would it be good enough if grandfather or grandmother saw this)?
What is the message you are trying to send with this social media post and is it in line with your core values?
Why you are posting this? If this image/message/video/Audio was publically accredited to you, how would you feel?
4) Teach Them Healthy Coping Strategies
As a human being, mood fluctuation is completely normal. But, usually, teenagers take their emotions to social media. So, parents should help teens in building awareness and finding healthy coping strategies to self-regulate and reduce the intensity of a particular situation before posting anything online.
Teenagers generally don’t think about long-standing consequences. And, this can be a recipe for tragedy. So, help your teens to plant a seed of reflection in advance. It can make a big difference.
5) Practice What You Preach
If you want your teen to change, make sure you also change. Remember, the proverb, “Do as I say, not as I do” won’t work with today’s tech-savvy teens. So, prioritize offline connections.
If you want your teens to turn into you, then as parents, you should turn off your devices and turn towards them. Prefer face-to-face conversations with your children and listen to them carefully and keenly when they are talking to you.
Set limits on your teen’s technology use, emphasize real-life interactions and put in practice what you preach. Stop checking your mobile constantly when a teen is talking to you. By doing so, you may be role-modelling the behaviour you want your teen to avoid.
As a parent, you can’t change the world that your children find themselves in, but definitely, you can help them navigate it. And, in it, the above-discussed tips will certainly help you.
So, use these tips and help your teen in learning how to incorporate technology in their life, but, at the same time, make them understand that they shouldn’t let the technology rule their life.
Lynda Arbon is a passionate and enthusiastic health blogger. She likes keeping herself updated on health trends and blogs. Her favourite pastime is learning history and solving crossword puzzles. Follow her on Twitter