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How to connect with your children in the digital age.

As parents we do a lot for our kids and while fulfilling our responsibilities we sometimes fall back on the newest technology in town. Between your work, cleaning, cooking, driving kids around we usually don’t find time to connect to your children. One often sees younger children glued to one or another screen, so rather than have meaningful conversations with the family, the kids prefer spending their time on phones, computers, television, iPads and so on. Here are a few tips to connect to your kids before the teenage drifts you apart. 

  1. Involve the kids in cooking and eat together. 
  2. Find a hobby that you can do along with your kids like learning a new language, instrument, photography, painting and so on. 
  3. Make a chart with allotted screen time for everyone in the house. 
  4. Set limits for the virtual environment, just like playground rules they have also got to follow the rules set for internet. 
  5. Set time limits and encourage them to learn during their digital playtime. 
  6. Make sure that their screen time isn’t always alone time. 
  7. Be a good role model, check your screen time before you leave instructions for the little ones. 
  8. Teach them the value of having face to face conversations. 
  9. Create tech free zones in the house for e.g. kitchen, bedroom etc. 
  10. Make sure you don’t use technology or internet as an emotional pacifier. 
  11. Don’t take help from apps for your kids homework and incase you have to then make sure you screen the apps and their content. 
  12. Tell your teenagers that it’s okay to be online and they can discover social media. However encourage them to discuss things with you. 
  13. Warn your kids about the importance of digital privacy and the dangers of online predators and sexting. 
  14. Kids will make mistakes, try and handle them with empathy and turn such situations into teachable moments. 
  15. Your kids are woke, are you? No matter how much you know as parents your kids are more aware of what’s happening around the world. 
  16. Experiment with different social media apps to see what exactly are your kids using. 
  17. You must be in control of the wifi in the house. Keep up to date with the plan, speed and data limit that you have in your house. 
  18. Each child reacts differently to the digital world. Tailor your responses accordingly. 
  19. Be open to learning about the internet, newer gadgets and tech updates, possibly from your own kids. 
  20. Talk openly about cyber crime, information sharing, the rules of online etiquette and behaviour among other things. 

Make sure that you don’t cross the line between supervision and spying. You will know what’s appropriate for them so be open to a dialogue. Encourage them to discuss and share about their online experiences. Also remember that the more restrictions your kids have, the more they rebel and the more they hide. 

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