Blog Series: What Does Digital Parenting Mean to You?

February 14, 2013 at 2:05 PM

KidSmartAs part of an on-going blog series that began last week, we have interviewed some internet safety experts, parenting experts and industry leaders and are pleased to present our findings. Our questions centered around 'digital parenting' and what people thought were the biggest issues regarding this subject.  

Today we are featuring responses from our friend Deb de Sherbinin the President of KidSmart. KidSmart develops, brands, launches and grows products targeted to kids and their families.

uKK: What is the biggest challenge today facing parents of digital children?

Deb de S:  Here are a couple of statistics to consider first. Nielsen study states 70% of children in homes with tablet computers use these devices regularly for education and entertainment.· Joan Ganz Cooney study states 20% of kids under the age of 5 use the internet weekly and 60% of kids 3 and under watch videos online

The biggest challenge is for parents to offer their children high-quality content in a safe online environment where they aren't exposed to predators, and where they can only view age-appropriate content with no violent or sexual content or ads.

uKK: How has parenting changed with the introduction of so many digital devices?

Deb de S: Portable devices such as smartphone and tablets offer parents a great babysitter for kids while at home and on the go. However, many apps and games aren¹t designed to be used by young children. The challenge is for parents to provide high-quality on-line experiences in a safe environment accessing sames, stories, movies, TV shows and apps on-line that don't include ads for sugary foods or show violent or sexual content.

uKK: How is childhood affected by the introduction of many digital devices?

Deb de S: Babies are now growing up using smart phones and tablets. A concern is that children have too much screen time and are exposed to violent or sexual content. As children grow older and become involved in creating their own content on-line, then there is a risk that they may make fun of their peers or be publicly be made fun of or even bullied. Words and pictures that are placed on the internet live on and can be shared by many. Hurtful content can devastate a child in extreme situatio have led to suicide.

On the other side, there are many companies focused on developing apps to combine the fun of play with learning. These educational apps engage kids in the world around them in a playful way making it easier to learn subjects that may be challenging to them in a traditional classroom. There are many success stories about children learning to read or tackle math problems by playing with apps. 

uKK: What are the most dangerous issues online, in your opinion? 

Deb de S: Online predators luring kids, cyberbullying, sexting, violent content are all dangerous. Teenage boys secretly filming sex with girls and then placing it on Facebook and other social sites is a huge issue.. Today's children grow up at a time where their lives are played out in public through the use of internet- Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr. Privacy is hard to come by.

Thanks, Deb!

Posted by Tim Woda

Tim Woda is an Internet safety expert, and a passionate advocate for empowering families and protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers. Woda was on the founding team of buySAFE, an Internet trust and safety company, and he started working on child safety issues after his son was targeted by a child predator online. While his son was unharmed, the incident led Woda to kick-start uKnow.com. You can follow Tim on Twitter or on his blog.

Topics: digital parenting, Parental Intelligence, Internet Safety, communication, online predators, internet safety resources

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