When it comes to raising a digital citizen, parents need to know about digital boundaries.
The term “digital citizen” has become a buzzword in recent years. Part of being a digital citizen includes knowing what digital boundaries. And parents must help their children to grow up to be well-rounded, thoughtful humans who are comfortable with technology.
According to Common Sense Media, digital citizenship is the ability to use technology competently and to interpret and understand digital content.
Digital Boundaries and Social media
As parents, it is important we understand digital boundaries for our children. It is in our best interest to ensure that our children are learning and keeping up with the times. But we also need to consider the digital world and how it impacts our children. Technology has changed everything in the lives of children and parents.
Parenting in the digital world can be difficult, but parents should not be worried because it’s not impossible.
Children can be exposed to all sorts of troubling content online, and this can affect their behaviour and even mental health. As a result, it is critical for parents to be digital savvy and to protect their children online.
It has become a daily norm to use social media to check in on various friends and families; as well as to share and post things on social media. While most of the posts are harmless, this is not always the case. Once anything is put into the public domain it can have long-lasting effects. Therefore; it is important for children to understand digital boundaries when it comes to what they share and consume online.
Dependence on Social Communication
Because of the increasing amount of content and the reliance on social media apps, children and teenagers are “retreating” to the online world. Being more accustomed to different ways of social communication means being exposed to more vices. Some of these include cyberbullying, fake news, gossip, and criticism.
Our children live in a digitally curated image of the world and they tend to become victims of blurred digital boundaries. On one end, it becomes easier for them to become more asocial; and at the same time, they can get a little overwhelmed with the sheer volume of content available online. Drawing the line between being online consistently and taking the time to set the right digital boundaries is a delicate balance everyone must learn.
Parenting through the Digital Age
While the digital age allows us to stay connected with people and to have access to a world of information right at our fingertips; it is important that digital boundaries are a priority for all. Parenting through the digital age includes having pertinent conversations that will empower your child to be a responsible digital citizen.
One of the important conversations is around the remarks your child might encounter on social media. While some of these remarks might seem harsh; it is important to realize that these comments might not be targeted directly at your child. It might be based on the general tone of the comments.
Next, it is important to note that all users are not necessarily professional in their use of social media platforms. For example, even though a company might have a social media account, your child should not blindly trust everything shared online, by the said company.
Understanding boundaries is also critical for your child to be a responsible digital citizen. Our children need to respect the boundaries set by the people and or companies that offer online experiences. Being on social media does not mean that you have the right to say anything and connect without permission. Lastly, children should learn the actions they can take if they feel uncomfortable.
Increased Usage of Technology
The reality is that children today are reading more, watching more, downloading more and creating their own content online. However, it is still important for parents to ensure their children are being safe online.
As seen through the pandemic, both children and adults were able to use the internet to stay current. There are several ways to stay connected, such as social media apps, news apps, news websites, blogs and video-sharing services. Technology-assisted learning can enrich the experiences of a child’s life. This includes learning about their interests and engaging with a positive online community.
Being a responsible digital citizen in all areas
Employers also need to ensure that their workforce has the skillset, experience and maturity to work in the digital world. The workspace of today is aware of the impact that the generations of students now reaching working age are having. Overall, understanding how to be responsible online has long term effects. For example; whatever is shared online – stays online forever.
Parents should limit when their children’s social media time. Schools should also play a part in teaching children about the value of privacy.
Encourage your child to talk with you and take responsibility for their online behaviours. Click To Tweet
Encourage your child to talk with you and take responsibility for their online behaviours. This supports your child and helps them to feel safer. Talking with you about what they are learning with technology gives them the opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas. This allows them to practise what they learn and creates a healthy relationship with technology.
Helping their curiosity to develop helps young children become lifelong users and healthy digital users. No online activity is necessarily bad. On the contrary, it’s up to us as parents to recognise the good side of technology. This will help increase your child’s confidence so that they feel comfortable exploring new activities.
The Importance of Effective Digital Communication
Digital communication is now anywhere, at any time and through multiple means. Some of these include instant messaging, social media, skype, text messaging, cell phone, and e-mail.
With so many choices, digital users need to learn appropriate digital communication skills. Especially when it comes to setting digital boundaries, all parties must be taught etiquette around the use of digital platforms. For example, how late is too late to share a message? Should you wake up in the middle of the night to respond to a comment or DM?
We all need to create and implement the right digital boundaries in our homes and lives.
Read also Parents Winning in a Digital World.