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Have a Merry Techy Christmas

Not long ago I met Jessie, a mother who spoke to me about how technology changed her life as a parent. She jokingly told me that what the Rubik’s cube was to her generation, the internet is to today’s. We are all aware of the great challenges technology presents, but for today I wish to focus on the advantages and opportunities that previous generations dreamt of having. The internet, for one thing, has resulted in an incredible amount of information. Do you have a question about breastfeeding, or how to discipline your child or how much time your child should spend on the tablet? Just Google it! With a bit of skill and experience most users can tread through the overload of information and hand pick something useful. Technology can also be a unique tool that brings families together. I will never forget when our family bought the Wii-Fit a few years ago. The number of hours we spent together in front of this game joking, laughing and having fun was unforgettable. The next few weeks leading up to Christmas can be a demanding time for parents due to the amount of parties and events your child is invited to. Not to mention the family events, buying presents, catching up with friends and so on. As tablets, iPads, smart phones and other fancy presents are wrapped in time for Christmas, it could be easy to lose sight of what, in my view, should be at the centre of this holiday – family. The message that often is given by ibrowsesafely is to spend time with your children, in particular...

Swap Screen Time for Family Time this Christmas

Are you worried about getting your kids an electronic device this Christmas because you fear they will spend the entire holidays glued to the screen?   As the holiday season draws near, the dilemma of whether to buy technology for your child, or not becomes more difficult. On the one hand you wish to please your children’s wishes but on the other hand you are worried that this will induce passivity and they will glue themselves to the screen for the entire duration of the holidays. The festive season is often associated with family time. Children are off school, parents are on shutdown, or annual leave, either way this creates a perfect opportunity to maximize family quality time, that, of course, you don’t wish to be hijacked by the device that you have just bought for them. Here are a few tips to balance the amount of time that your children spend using technology and spending that well deserved family quality time. Set an example. We sometimes find it extremely challenging to take a technological break. Whilst we continually nag our children to stop playing on their gaming consoles, or tablets, we too find it challenging to ignore that phone call, or that important work email and even more, Facebook. As parents we are looked upon as role models. Children will often mimic our gestures, the way we speak and anything that we do. Set an example and take a technological break over the holidays you will notice that your child will be more responsive to your interaction. Spend time together. Make the most of the Christmas holidays by...

Cyberbullying: How to recognise and deal with the signs

I would like to share John’s story – a 12 year old boy who comes across as confident and rather popular with friends. John was upset because his friends took a photo of him (without his knowledge) in a funny pose and posted it on Instagram. They then tagged him so everyone he knew could see it. He found this very hurtful. Just a few days earlier, these same friends treated him like he was special and a part of their ‘inner sanctum’. This blowing hot and cold is all part of the bullying cycle of abuse and John was well and truly roped into it. It had a detrimental effect on John’s self-esteem. This reminded me of the bullying behaviour I and others faced back in our secondary school years. The dynamics around cyberbullying are very similar to that of real life bullying we faced as children. However, online bullying is more challenged because life on social media does not stop when the bell rings and children make their way back home. When I was John’s age, I could feel safe, away from the bully when not at school and the friendships I built outside school gave me the strength to face the bully at school. John’s bullies follow him home on social media and this is a concept that people of my generation (or older) did not experience as children. Therefore, we need to develop a strong degree of empathy towards our children to try and understand the experiences they are going through when they engage with social media, which is a very important part of their...