Cyber/ Digital Parenting 101
Setting screen time
It is really important to keep a check on the amount and quality of screen time the child has access to. There are three types of screen time: Passive screen time, active screen time, constructive screen time. Passive screen time is the time spent on watching things like TV, video, more either on a big screen or a device. Interactive screen time is the time spend when the user interacts with the device like playing games, moving along the game, etc. Constructive screen time is the time when the user is doing something constructive like designing, writing, coding, etc.
Children should only be allowed to view the screen for a limited time as per the requirement. Parents should talk to kids and discuss how they are utilising their screen time. Parents should also talk to kids to fix screen time and encourage them to take short breaks. Devices have an inbuilt feature to restrict screen time, parents can use them if required.
Education and awareness
Kids nowadays understand technology far better than adults. Kids can now person any activity on the device without seconds which may take adults a few minutes to understand. Parents should be aware of the technology which is being used by their kids. Parents should educate themselves about technology and devices.
Parents should also educate the kids of various vulnerabilities and problems with these technologies. They should also make their kids aware about every aspect so that kids can also be vigilant while using the devices.
This is a very important point but only a few people think about this. Ergonomics is the science behind the design of a work environment. As kids spend more and more time on the devices,ergonomics is really important. It talks about various aspects like how high the screen should be to remove stress on the neck or what should be the position of arms which using the device to avoid stress injuries. Parents should encourage the kids to maintain good posture when sitting at the computer. If possible, a family computer station with adjustable furniture should be set up. Parents should ask their kids to treat regular breaks and not sit continuously for too long.
Controlling internet access
Once the kids get access to the internet, the situation becomes different. Kids can now access various types of content which they must come across. It is really important to monitor what the kids are seeing, reading or doing online.
Parents should use parental control or safe web browser specifically for younger kids to prevent the kids from coming across inappropriate content. Parents should also teach the kids good online practices like avoiding bullying, not giving sensitive information, not downloading random files, etc.
If the child is using any social media platform, first the parents must ensure that their age is above the minimum age limit of that platform. If the child is above the age limit then parents must be aware of all the platforms their child uses. Parents should also talk to their kids about the safety precautions to take on these platforms. Parents should consider talking and avoid stalking.
Parents should regularly interact with the kids about their activities on social media. Parents should avoid humiliating or embarrassing their kids on these platforms because this may have adverse effects on the child. Parents should also be careful about what they post online because this is what their kids will also see. They should also educate their kids about cyberbullying and other inappropriate online behaviors.
This is one of the most important practices in parenting. Parents should always talk with their kids. It is better to talk rather than stalk. They should discuss safe online browsing practices with their kids. Parents should listen to the problems of their kids and understand them. They should be open to their kids and also encourage their kids to openly discuss any issues. Parents should be involved in the activities of the kids online and regularly talk to the kids about their experience online.