As a parent, I am supposed to support my children’s physical, intellectual, emotional and social development from infancy to when they become adults – that’s when they can take care of themselves. This is an uphill task that can be done only with passion, patience and love. Child upbringing is one of the most formidable task each and every parent takes in this life. This task becomes more difficult in this digital age as another task has just been added – the ‘digital’ aspect.
With the rapid changes we are in now, it is very necessary for parents to pay attention to the interrelated factors of the ever-changing global network in order to safely and responsibly raise up their children. The digital age is developing rapidly than any other age in history and neither the parents nor children can escape. The fear of taking the wrong direction in child upbringing in this age has increased. This means the quest by parents to make their children happy in such times have not been easy.
Some generations back, our parents were afraid that if they don’t teach us, the society will do. Things have changed and I am afraid that if we don’t play our part well, the media and technology will do for us. There seems to be no limit in getting or learning what you want, whether good or bad so long as you are connected to the Internet. Limiting the internet usage will not solve the problem nor will it make us any happier.
Parents in this age have an additional task – helping children build a healthy relationship with technology. One thing you have to keep in mind is that there are no specific rules in child upbringing. What may be good for your kids may not necessarily be good for mine. Kids of today are still same as those of yesterday – they have the same development stages. However, something like the Internet, which may not have been that popular in the days of our parents, now helps to amplify the best and worst behaviours in our kids.
For us parents to succeed, we need to always improve our knowledge on aspects of the digital world. This should serve as our own guidebook, hence, we have to adapt ourselves to the ever-changing rules. As parents of today, we cannot predict how the future world will be like tomorrow for our children. However, we are obliged to make them embrace today’s technology because we don’t know what it will be like in the future. Good child upbringing today obligates us to guide our kids through this digital phenomenon in the same way we do for other things in their lives.
We should not forget that we are our kid’s role model – let me say ‘digital role models’. Kids usually copy or imitate what their parents do. I remember this beautiful young girl who yawned like a grawling lion during my child’s graduation from pre-school. When she was asked why she did it that way, she innocently said daddy does it that way also. Oh! So luckily, daddy wasn’t there to feed the eyes of onlookers.
Imagine you are that phone-addicted parent who will care less when your tearful toddler needs your attention! What about that parent who shares everything about their kids online for public shaming? You know how cruel the Internet is – it punishes without mercy. These are the things your children learn so fast and will pass it on to the next generation since to them it’s normal. This is to let you understand that kids learn more from home and if the teachers (parents) fail to do their job well, they will imitate what they do or learn it the wrong way from outside.
That said, parents need to keep in mind that their kids have them as role models, so they have to lead by example. This means they need to be able to tell their child what a safe and responsible practice is in this digital age. This will help the child grow up knowing fully well what is good or bad about technology. This will help them through their lives from adolescence, teenage to adult age. The digital age should not be a problem or deterrent factor in child upbringing. Rather, you need to bring in the advantages of the enjoyable and rewarding experience to your entire household.