By now you’ve realized that, perhaps without wanting to, you have become a digital parent. This can be fun, exciting and often quite challenging. Children seem to whiz through their gadgets effortlessly and, just when you think you have figured it all out, a new application is released and your child has brand new jargon!
The best way to equip yourself for this rapidly changing landscape is to make sure that you are not left behind. We’ve put together a few tips that will guide you towards making the essential first steps in being a successful digital parent or grandparent.
Think: about how you guide your family in the real world and do the same in the digital world – don’t be afraid to set boundaries and rules for your child from a young age.
Get involved: It is important to know what your children are doing. If you haven’t already, try out some of the technologies that your child enjoys. Even if it takes a couple of tries, it will be worth the effort it takes to be one step closer to your child’s digital habitat.
Talk to your child: Chat about their favourite online activities and learn more about the channels they mention. Don’t be disheartened if they use words you’ve never heard. They’ll mention social networks and sites like Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr or SnapChat. There are plenty of online resources to help parents understand more about these activities. It is important to take the time to explore them.
Show you care: Show your child that you understand how important technology is to them. This will make sure you retain open communication about it.
Make: the most of tools like Parental Controls on computers, mobiles and game consoles, privacy features on social networking sites and safety options on Google and other search engines. You can find step-by-step guides by visiting: http://www.ibrowsesafely.com.mt/en/how-to-be-safe
Vodafone has made Digital Parenting easier by putting together all their resources in an easily accessible website and Facebook page. Visit www.ibrowsesafely.com.mt for practical information and advice about how to take informed decisions and protect the delicate balance of online safety and mobile freedom.
The ibrowsesafely campaign is brought to you by Vodafone Malta in support of BeSmartOnline.
Veronica Montanaro is a Speech and Language Pathologist who practices as a Clinical Specialist in Alternative and Augmentative Communication. Ms Montanaro specialised in Language and Communication Impairment in Children at the University of Sheffield. She also addresses seminars for parents and children who benefit from Alternative and Augmentative Communication, carries out training for professionals interested in the area and offers consultancy in language development in young children. She is also a visiting assisting lecturer at the University of Malta.