The Internet has changed the world in ways we couldn’t have even seen coming. Young people today find themselves n a world where they are constantly online. With cell phones, Wi-Fi hotspots, and tablets have made it so being online 24/7 is becoming the normal way doing things, thus digital parenting is ever important. According to research thirty seven percent of Americans aged twelve to seventeen access the Internet on a smartphone. Because of the Internets increasing prevalence in our society its more important then every to know how to talk to your connected kids.
During the course of digital parenting, it’s hard for children to understand you’re only concerned for their wellbeing. Most advice you offer seems like it’s completely ignored or seen as a challenge. There are ways to talk to your children so they understand your concern and don’t see it as an attack. Remember that your own teenage years likely saw you become stubborn as you tried to learn how to make your own choices. Technology may have connected kids but it didn’t change what being a kid is. While the experience of growing up may be the same the connected world your kids find themselves in creates new challenges.
What to Teach Them
Always try to install in your connected kids a sense of self-confidence, which makes them less likely to react, based on attacks to their self worth. Predators online will try to force your child into doing things by challenging their maturity or capabilities. Those who prey on the young often use the need teens have to not be perceived as children. This perpetrates many of the dangers they face online.
Also advise them on how to avoid risky behaviors. Often your connected kid may see this as an attack on their intelligence. After all most of them have been online all of their lives Try to frame this as people taking advantage of them by perceiving them as foolish or trying to make them act as such. It’s not their unintelligent its people trying to make them act unintelligent. Behaviors you should advise them of include: never meet someone they’ve only met online fact to face, never trade pictures with someone they’ve never met, never give up too much personal information, and never go to a website where they don’t trust what may be on it.
What follows is a special note about trolls and trolling online. If you don’t know trolls are people online who say inflammatory, racist or other horrible things to a get a rise out of people. They are basically the Internet’s answer to a loud-mouthed bully. Now your connected kids probably already knows what a troll is and they are an annoying and unavoidable part of internet cultural. Advise your child to go with the old Internet saying “Don’t Feed the Troll”. These kinds of people are looking for any kind of negative reaction to their provoking and the best response to a troll is to not give one.
Listening to Your Children
A connected kids online life is much like their life in the real world. Their online life will be filled with favorite hangouts, favorite places to visit and favorite people to hang out with. Ask them what their interest are and watch what they do online. If you have any questions ask them about it. Connected kids much like anyone enjoy talking about their hobbies and interest when they think they have a nonjudgmental ear.
There is no replacement for understanding. The reasons kids are often secretive about their hobbies or interest is because they think their parents won’t care or understand it. Nothing is worse to the connected kids then sharing in a hobby online with others and their parents finding it silly or taking no interest. This is perceived as a form of rejection and makes it less likely for them to open up about other things. Teenagers often connect to hobbies very intensely as this may be the first time they’ve been among so many like-minded individuals and felt a sense of community. So listen with an open mind and a supportive ear and understand what it is about these hobbies or interest that drew your child to them in the first place.
Parenting is never easy nor does it come with an instruction manual. The current generation of connected kids over a new challenge to parents as knowledge is spreading faster then it ever has in human history. The one thing that has not changed is the ability of parents to build up their child’s sense of self worth, teach them how to handle themselves, and listen to them when they really need them. So take an interest and listen to your children it can make all the difference between being seen as an ally or an obstacle.
Parenting has become increasingly more complicated with cell phones and computers. Read about how you can keep up with it all in our eBook! Download “Digital Parenting: The Essential Guide to Raising Connected Kids” now.