5 Rules For Digital Age Parents
You probably know this already because you’re an awesome parent, but the entire world changes when your kid gets a smart phone.
You think you know when you head to Verizon or AT&T, but you have no idea what happens when your parenting goes digital. Up is down. Right is wrong. Maybe we should have been more cautious of this new reality when we saw our child salivating while looking at the latest iPhone at the store.
Alright, now that we’ve got the panic every parent feels out of the way, let’s talk practically for a minute.
In this phase, you have a super important role as a parent in developing technological responsibility in your kids. You can strategize a plan to help your kids learn to respect limits and strengthen social abilities. You can’t expect your kids to automatically understand how to be responsible with technology. That’s why you set a few ground rules.
When your kids gets a smart phone, a lot of the rules you’ve always parented with are still in play. But, the amount of new situations you’ll face demand some creativity and knowledge on your part. With that said, here are 5 rules we think every parent should teach their children.
1. NEVER UNPLUG AN ADULT’S PHONE
Let’s just get this out of the way early. Come on parents, you know you love this one. This one might seem silly up until the moment you wake up and find that your phone didn’t charge over night. “That’s strange,” you’ll think, as you realize that a dead phone means you can’t take a quick look at today’s schedule.
Did you know that teens have a curious habit of unplugging whatever phone is in the way of recharging their own? They don’t see it as “battery life,” they see it as simply “life.” Implement this rule before you miss a morning meeting, have to buy a new charger at lunch, or keep asking to borrow someone’s phone to text your teen. You’ll thank us later!
2. ANSWER THE PHONE
Have you ever called your kid on the phone and been sent to voicemail? Have you ever waited hours for a text message response? Have you ever had the sneaking suspicion they turned on the “Do Not Disturb” feature? They did. They turned the ringer off, too.
Rather than having to deal with this reactively after a panicked state, clarify why they have a phone in the first place. The purpose of their phone is so that you can communicate with them. Sure, it has games and a camera and a million apps, but first and foremost, your phone is a phone. (How crazy is it that we have to remind each other that phones can still make and receive calls?) If you want better communication with your kids, use this rule.
3. DON’T MESS WITH WATER
Going to the neighborhood pool with your friends? Leave your phone at home. Going to a water park with girls from E3 or 212? Leave your phone at home. Rafting down a small river at a birthday party? Leave your phone at home. Will you miss a few photos? Sure, but you’ll have a phone that works for years as opposed to all the teens (and adults) who have been forced to hope a bowl of rice would fix a computer that’s been dropped in water.
4. YOU’RE IN CHARGE OF YOUR BATTERY LIFE
“I would have called you, but my phone was dead.” First, smart move on the kid front. Hard to argue and certainly this is an excuse I couldn’t make when I was a kid. In 1987, I couldn’t have told my dad, “I would have called you, but the Johnsons have this weird home phone that they have to charge every night.” Now, though, juice maintenance is a chore each phone owner in our house has to take responsibility for. Teach your kids battery responsibility.
5. DON’T PLAY POKEMON IN THE ROAD
This one is really simple and yet, you’d be surprised how often a rare Pokemon appears in a busy intersection.
The world of parenting is changing quickly. Tomorrow, some new technology is going to demand that we come up with some brand new rules. Until then, guard your power cord, make sure the ringers are on, and watch out for Pokemon. They’re everywhere!
At The Ridge
Are you looking for a great place where you as parents can partner with a group of people to help support and encourage your children and teens? At The Ridge, we want to do whatever it takes to help you and your family raise awesome kids!
On Sunday mornings, we have great children’s programs that we call Little Ridge Kids and Ridge Kids during the 9:30 and 11am services. On Sunday nights, E3 and 212 (our youth groups) meet from 6–9pm for games, a lesson, and small groups.