posted on January 28, 2013 07:50am by Meryl
On this week’s radio show, I interview Samantha Kemp-Jackson at http://www.multiplemayhemmamma.com, about the intersection of parenting and technology. The new age of technology invokes fear into the hearts of many of us parents. The nightmare stories of cyber stalking, sexting, video game addictions, are definitely cause for concern. But there is a positive side to technology. Cell phones can help keep us connected to children when there are walking home from school or are ready to be picked up from soccer practice. The Internet allows all of us to access endless information and research any subject we desire. Gaming offers children the option to engage with technology in a hands-on and creative way.
So how do we balance the good and the bad? My take is that you have to stay involved with your kids’ use of technology. If they are playing games on the Internet, make sure you know what games they are playing and with whom. Try to jump in and join them from time to time. If you are going to give your child a cell phone, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons and not because “everyone has one.” Educate your child about the legalities of using a cell phone and the danger of sharing photos and other content. Set limits on screen time, but make them reasonable and flexible depending on what the screen time entails (research for school, educational software, violent shoot ‘em up games, etc.).
My biggest challenge so far is the last one. My thirteen year old son spends a lot of time online and playing computer games. The games are typically benign (he likes driving and flying simulation games) and he enjoys following news stories and political events. He also spends a few afternoons home alone because I’m out driving his sister to gymnastics practice and it’s hard to limit his time long distance. He also doesn’t like going outside when it’s cold and because he gets his homework done quickly he ends up with a lot of free time on his hands. I try to engage him in other activities, but I’m often distracted myself with work and life.
Do you have any suggestions for me? What is your biggest challenge parenting in the digital age?