To­day’s par­ents not only have to deal with their kids, but also grap­ple with tech­nol­ogy in a way that no other gen­er­a­tion has had to be­fore

New Straits Times - - News -

IT was only just few days ago that we cel­e­brated Moth­ers Day. Apart from hand­ing them cards and flow­ers, we now take them out for a meal, snap we­fies and post them on so­cial me­dia.

Tech­nol­ogy has changed many as­pects of our lives, in­clud­ing par­ent­ing. Par­ent­ing in the dig­i­tal age has evolved quite a bit compared with a few decades ago.

Nowa­days, we get par­ents say­ing that they feel that they are los­ing their kids to smart­phones and tablets. Quite true, if I may con­cur. As seen in many pub­lic scenes, where par­ents sit down to a meal with their kids, yet ev­ery­one is glued to his smartphone or tablet un­til the food ar­rives.

To be fair, it’s not en­tirely the chil­dren’s fault. Partly, it’s the par­ents’; we are re­spon­si­ble when it comes to giv­ing chil­dren ac­cess to tech­nol­ogy. I am not say­ing this is a bad thing. In fact, it is good for them to gain knowl­edge of tech­nol­ogy to keep up with the world. The fact that I am more con­cerned is the amount of tech­nol­ogy ac­cess we par­ents give to our chil­dren.

As par­ents, we need to lay down ground rules when it comes to tech­nol­ogy. Tech­nol­ogy is like a coin. There are two sides to ev­ery­thing. It can of­fer so much to our kids and, yet, it can also be a haz­ard. There’s no way to stop our young from tech­nol­ogy, so it’s up to par­ents to make the best of it and ad­just to the best we deem fit for them.

Par­ent­ing on its own is not easy. In this dig­i­tal age, it’s a new ball game. Par­ents have to grap­ple with tech­nol­ogy be­fore they can learn or un­der­stand how to deal with their tech-savvier chil­dren. Tech­nol­ogy can have a gen­er­ally pos­i­tive ef­fect on a child’s fu­ture, ca­reer and life skills. The num­ber of hours a child or teenager spends on tech­nol­ogy dif­fers in ev­ery coun­try, too.

Chil­dren to­day are not the same as chil­dren 20 years ago. Due to the changes in the en­vi­ron­ment and, to a cer­tain ex­tent, food, they are more ac­tive and in­clined to learn or pick up things faster.

Chil­dren to­day also learn from their par­ents and en­vi­ron­ment. Due to these changes, chil­dren are exposed to tech­nol­ogy so much more than be­fore.

Hon­estly, there is no one-siz­e­fits-all ap­proach when it comes to par­ent­ing in the dig­i­tal age. How­ever, there are many ways we can ad­just to cater to our kids.

First, we need to strengthen our con­nec­tion with them. It’s the at­ten­tion that kids want. If par­ents spend enough time with their kids, they re­ally wouldn’t have to re­sort to be hooked on com­put­ers and tablets. Ask your child to be hon­est with you about what they want and they may just tell you that they want your time.

WED­NES­DAY, MAY 17, 2017

What­ever you may do with your kids, even when you both are on com­put­ers or tablets, make sure to do it to­gether. It’s that im­por­tant as not only will it strengthen your re­la­tion­ship, but both may just learn some new tech­nol­ogy to­gether!

As par­ents, we learn from our own jour­ney in life, books and ad­vice from oth­ers.

Tech­nol­ogy can open up a whole new path of knowl­edge in par­ent­ing. One can Google any­thing, any­where and any­time if you need to find out about some­thing on par­ent­ing.

In fact, tech­nol­ogy has al­lowed many par­ents to un­der­stand more than ever be­fore.

Par­ents just need to do their due dili­gence to make sure that they get their facts from rep­utable sites.

Treat tech­nol­ogy as a plus point. Ap­ply the same par­ent­ing guide­lines to real and vir­tual en­vi­ron­ments. Set lim­its in both worlds be­cause your kids need and ex­pect them. Know your kid’s friends, online and in the real world. Keep track of the soft­ware and sites that your kids visit, just like you would in re­al­ity.

Be a good role model for kids. Teach kind­ness and man­ners online as you would in re­al­ity.

Cre­ate tech-free zones by re­strict­ing it to cer­tain times a day. Meal­times are times to talk to each other and en­joy the food.

Spend time fo­cus­ing on kids and put away your gad­gets. Teach and warn the kids about the im­por­tance of pri­vacy and the dan­gers of preda­tors online. Tech­nol­ogy is a haz­ard when kids do not un­der­stand or know about these dan­gers.

Par­ent­ing is never easy, more so in this tech­nol­ogy age. Par­ents just need to re-look into in­cor­po­rat­ing tech­nol­ogy in par­ent­ing skills.

Tech­nol­ogy is an in­te­gral part of our world to­day... we have to live with it and man­age it to the best of our abil­ity.

The writer is editor of BOTs, the weekly tech sec­tion in Life&Times. Trained in Maths, he has since traded his prob­lem-solv­ing skills with writ­ing about how tech has helped to trans­form the world for the better

Tech­nol­ogy has a gen­er­ally pos­i­tive ef­fect on a child’s fu­ture, ca­reer and life skills.

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