Raising Kids In A Connected World
Let’s face it, parenting is not easy even under the most ideal circumstances, and we can all agree that this year has been far from that. We are currently living in the most unique and unprecedented time of our lives. Especially in this modern-day, this pandemic made us realize that it can be challenging to know what is best for our child in regard to technology and devices. Despite the differences in each family, there is something the majority of families have in common and are wondering whether the screen time has increased significantly throughout the pandemic. And beyond that, online learning has become the new norm, and kids are spending time on their devices for both connecting with their teachers at school, and for their own entertainment.
Nothing could have prepared us for this reality we have found ourselves in. It is natural for us to have questions and to feel confused because we have never lived through this before. We all want our children to have healthy relationships with technology, but we often don’t know where to begin. It’s important that we understand and accept that this is a whole new world and there are no answers to all of this.
Every generation faces disruptive technologies, yet many see today’s version as the end of civilization.
Since we live in a busy world where the list of to do’s is constant, handing a child an iPad might allow us the opportunity to shop at the grocery. And it slowly becomes inconvenient while we instantly feel guilt and shame for creating what appears to be an addiction. The more we resist this modern way of connection, the more enticing it will be for your child. But here’s the truth, whether you are raising a toddler or a teenager, communication is essential and it will continue to be throughout your relationship. In fact, we don’t need to be the gatekeepers in this progress. But we need to urgently teach our kids how to communicate in this connected world while applying the old human values such as kindness, compassion, ethics, and etiquette within new technological contexts.
So how do you communicate with your child in a connected world?
- Communication is not always verbal.
A lot of communication is non-verbal. At home, you can explore other ways to communicate love, kindness, and acceptance such as writing notes, personal journals, and being aware of how we respond with our facial expressions or tone of our voice. Because some children are quite sensitive and may require a different approach to connection. You can try out a few ways and see which fits best!
- Be intentional and involved.
Your little ones might love a particular show, hobby, or even insect. And what you can do is to join them in watching a show or video about their interest and use it as an opportunity to cuddle, breathe, and explore more about what they love. For example, try apps that are suitable for your little one to learn more about healthy habits, self-confidence, and letters.
- Encourage them.
Often, we want to teach our child everything we know for them to successfully develop into adulthood. But sometimes it’s important to take time to let your kids teach you something new every day. Children are notoriously curious about a wide variety of topics. Encouraging them to teach you something they know will gradually build their confidence, especially as they go through full-time education. However, this process can take place with the absence of a smart device or you could even encourage them to use a digital device as a learning tool.
- Communicate Openly
It is extremely important that foster an environment that encourages your child to speak openly about anything. Parenting in this modern-day, your child is more likely to be open with their parents if they don’t feel pressured to share information. Remember even an offhand comment about something that happened during the day is her way of reaching out, and you’re likely to hear more if you stay open and interested but not prying.
- Utilize technology in nature.
Who said we can’t utilize technology in nature? Once children get outdoors, they most often find amazing ways to use their own imagination. Mobile app design should consider “pump-primer” scenarios, such as a role to play or a goal to reach, as a way to get kids started but keep the scenarios open-ended to provide space for the individual imagination.
Nevertheless, technology is definitely here to stay, and feeling guilty, confused or ashamed will not get us, parents, very far. We have the opportunity to be a trailblazer for ourselves, our family, our community, and even the world. We have the ability to get curious and creative about what your child is interested in and engage with them. Technology has the ability to be a tool used to empower the expression of life and humanity along with breaking down more barriers than any other tool on the earth. Even though this can feel uncomfortable. But it can also feel empowering if we can learn to let go of outdated beliefs and embrace technology and now.
Share with us about your experience or your thoughts on this article! To find more parenting advice, and products head over to KeaBabies.com
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Valerie Tan
As a freelance writer, Valerie puts in her all in writing. She is a mother of three and is passionate in everything she does. During her free time, she tries to spend her time with her children and her family.