The Circus of Parenting Online and Off
Parenting In The Age of Technology
There are dishes in the sink that have sat sud-less all day, lifeless toys are scattered across the footprinted floor and mountains of laundry await to be surmounted. We all get overwhelmed and life as a parent can feel more like a circus at times, but the giggles, laughter, and soggy-kisses make it all worth it. Our world is starting to feel a lot like this home-grown circus we’ve come to know and love. From scary international news to online safety scandals, craziness is infiltrating all corners of our existence. It is becoming harder to ignore the fear and uncertainty about our future. Each one of us has so many “tabs open” in our minds that internet safety feels like only one of (about) 12,000 things to talk about. But this issue isn’t going away until we address it. Much like those dishes that have been begging to be washed, or that tower of laundry that won’t fold itself, internet safety needs to be discussed and dealt with.
We have come a long way in the last 20 years. From trailblazing new tech to backtracking on Facebook, our internet journey has been an epic adventure that is only now revealing the antagonist. We see now that the major institutions of social media have been playing with our privacy and gambling with our safety. We only need to remember the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the Momo fiasco that made youtube feel like a minefield.
As parents, we have a duty to protect our children from dangers and prepare them for the future. This means zeroing in on the issues and instilling in them the necessary skills to be great digital citizens.
How do we do this effectively?
Be aware of the issues
Ignorance isn’t always bliss. Educate yourself about potential risks, areas where your child can hide information and online platforms that may have lax data privacy policies.
Instill respect for technology
Establish rules such as no cellphones at the dinner table, or phoneless Friday nights to remind our children (and ourselves!) that life happens outside of our screens. In addition to this, showing our children that online data should be honored and protected.
The best way to do this is to be kind, yourself. Your little ones pick up on your social cues and will use them to help navigate the world around them. Practice kindness to yourself and others and the world will become a better place.
Know how to handle concerns
If your child is being bullied or bullying there are amazing resources available online. Acknowledge the issue sooner rather than later.
Originally published at https://mazufamily.com on May 8, 2019.