Welcome to the Digital age. You may not like it. You might not know a lot about how to use it. But your children/Youth (C/) do. C/Y in this context refers to School Age Children, especially from Grade 3 to High School. That is as far as you parenting authority will go in USA. Trust me when I say, we don’t take trouble to monitor children and to supervise youth, we will miss the greatest opportunity of investing in relationships that live forever. This is what matters most.
You might have heard some preachers say that the only Bible they want C/Y to carry is a Paper one. Some even reject those who can quickly access scriptures on their Bible App.
My friends fear no more. You have been identified as a Digital Immigrant, that is if you were born before 1980. Yes you might be an immigrant X 2. Your C/Y are digital natives especially those born in the USA after 1980. They are practically growing up in a digital world, which is defined by Computers, Internet and Smart devices. See how generations are defined.
Let us learn more from a parent like us who is raising C/Y right in our neighborhood. Mary Kiriba is a Registered nurse from, MA. She is a wife and a mother. Sometime in the Spring during one of the teleconferenced sessions “Say No To Depression” I had the opportunity of following up with Mary. On the teleconference She shared important points that I believe will be helpful to parents. She is a parent who wants to help.
Here is what she had to say about internet and video games:
“Video games used wisely and under parental control are not harmful to our kids. With todays’ technology, kids are able to communicate with their family and friends abroad.
Parents, however, need to monitor who their kids are interacting with. Teach them internet safety, Wi-fi safety and the dangers of hacking.
Parents also should be the “controllers” of C/Y games. As controllers, this means that parents do certain things like, assign time for play and adhere to it, listen to C/Y conversations and the language used since they are on microphone, let them play in an open space where a parent can see, hear and monitor activities. Avoid putting TV and computer in C/Y bedroom. For C/Y playing games in the basement, have the door open so that you can hear the conversation. If C/Y violates household rules or their grades go down, parents should disconnect the cord so that
C/Y will not play in the parent’s absence.
Make use of mobile apps to monitor sites visited.,You will know, when they switch on/off the phone, allocation of time to be on phone during school nights. The app will alert you too when C/Y visit sites that are restricted by parent. Also make sure C/Y leave their cellphones/tablets on the kitchen table when going to bed. This way they are not tempted to use them when they should be sleeping. My son have tried to sneak it in but after losing the phone privilege a couple of times he has learnt it’s not worth it so he leaves it on the kitchen table. You can make sure the phones are charged and ready to be used the next day.
I believe at the end of the day, having time with our C/Y and engaging them in family games and play is more important than being away looking for dollars and leaving our C/Y at the mercy of internet and video games.”
Comments: Let us know if you found Mary’s article helpful. Remember what you can predict you can prevent. If you buy C/Y all these gadgets and smart devices then leave them alone, its like setting them up for trouble, but more so as a parent you set yourself up for undue stress and frustration.
Let us stay actively involved in our C/Y life. Whether it is at home, Church, Community or in recreation activities.
This week Watch KPIUSA for follow up articles on Parenting Digital
C/Y/with Rev. Wambui Njoroge. Msc.
Book: The New Childhood by Jordan Shapiro
C/Y School Counselor
Your Local Sheriff’s Office
Local Department of Health
If you feel intimidated by technology. Check with your local library, or community college near you. They might have classes for digital immigrant parents…Diaspora Be Informed and Stay Ahead.