Change is constant. With the world changing and evolving, it’s only normal for parents to think that their children are changing too. How can parents win in a digital world?
They feel that children of nowadays are different and they just don’t understand what all the fuss about social media and internet is.
“What is instagram? What is snapchat? Why do kids enjoy taking selfie’s all day long? I can’t keep up with these techie generation”
Don’t be that kind of parent. If you don’t know something just Google it. You need to learn your children’s language so that you’re not in the dark about things they’re exposed to. If you don’t know these things, there’s no how you’ll know what you’re trying to protect them from.
Children Have Not Changed
Children have not changed, they still need the same things. They still need to be loved and nurtured. As parents we just need to talk to them and teach them the right values.
The world around them might have changed, things we say are okay have changed. But a child is born needing the same things they’ve always needed : a parent’s guidance.
Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost (Proverbs 22:6) MSG.
Parents have a role to play which cannot be outsourced. We cannot afford to say we don’t get it, we cannot change the rules. We can’t keep giving them everything they ask for because we don’t want them to hate us. Giving them material things without backing it up with the training to navigate in this world is not the way to go about parenting [ Is your parenting style raising monster kids?].
Our children are in this world but they do not have to be influenced by the world. Even though we cannot shield them 100%, we can and must guide them.
What are the Challenges?
Children are faced with a lot of challenges like:
- Influence from external factors – internet, social media, smart phones
- The world appearing to change,
- 24/7 barrage of information that they don’t know what to do with as there is a lot of fake news on the internet
- Apparent acceptance of perversion, I mean, the world is okay with it so why
- Influence of culture and loss of values
- Reliance on domestic staff
It is not the show of love to give them devices, technology or access to the internet without control at a young age. Control and guidance is love!
Every generation will have something that causes parents discomfort and heartache – today it is the internet.
Values – You can only teach them values by spending the time together to share these values. Let them know God’s word.
External Influence – The internet, social media, etc are here to stay but we need to manage them. Uncle Google has moved in, content without context; while there’s a world of information on the web that our children are open to, we need to talk to them about the fact that not everything they see is real and not all information applies in every context. All these tools are dangerous, what we can control is our child and his or her knowledge. Even if you restrict them its really about communication on what is right.
Raising children today –
Children are digital natives; Give a young child a device and you will be surprised that he or she can interact in ways that we cannot even figure out. Raising successful digital citizens is our big issue in the 21st century
Social Media (part of Digital
Social media is what telephones were for us growing up. It is the way children nowadays interact with each other – they are digital citizens and so we cannot fight it. We cannot keep up to date with all the new ones coming. It has infiltrated every sphere of their lives – there is the good and the bad, but if they are not told what’s right whose fault is it?
Our tools – We need to be aware of all the things happening around us and constantly check what’s going on in their world. We need to accept the fact that there are things we can’t change, however, we can stay relevant, set rules in place, and empower them to make the right decisions.
As parents, we have to raise healthy and happy children that can navigate trends so they don’t affect them. Talk to your children. When you say no, explain why. Children need to understand why you’re saying what you’re saying. Let them know what dangers they’re bound to find online.
We will say God forbid, our children will not face any dangers, but then we need to also be proactive as parents Faith without action…
From birth they are digital citizens and have a digital profile. If you have ever shared a picture of your child online – they have a footprint.
When they start to share –do they know what they are sharing, who is looking at it, why they are sharing it? What does it say about them?
HR increasingly uses “Google” as their background check. People have lost jobs from this seemingly innocent sharing online that can lead to future questions.
Steps to win
- Rules – Giving no rules is like telling a child to drive on 3rd mainland bridge with no driving lessons. Set rules and explain why, be their friend.
- Limit screen time and monitor their online activities.
- Have conversations early – for older children have a contract.
- Know that addiction to Social Media is real – when the phone rings or they receive a message, the brain releases dopamine, the same hormone that is released in cases of drug abuse and sex. [Does your teen have smartphone addiction?]
- Don’t be an ostrich parent. Be a good model – remember children learn more from what you
do than what you say.
Importance on Values
- Reduce focus on materialism – Children should learn to be grateful with less focus on having more. Introduce a gratitude journal
- Skills – Children need to be raised to be relevant in the world, it is no longer enough to be good for your LGA
- Self-Confidence – Children need self-confidence to be who they are. The social media onslaught makes people judge themselves based on validation from total strangers.
- Negative Influence – this is everywhere and we must discuss it with them and protect them from it.
- Lack of Time – Spend with children and communicate. Stay relevant and know what children are facing
- You are not a friend – some parents want to be friends and forget that you are a parent first.
- Say No – Don’t be too permissive. Do not get caught up with doing everything
for your child, they will not be independent.
Dangers of Being Online
The risks and dangers of being online are numerous. They can get easy access to Inappropriate content, including pornography. Also, most of this apps don’t have any means of ensuring kids are the age they say they are, so it’s easy for children to ignore age restrictions.
Friending or communicating and sharing personal information with people they don’t know is another risk they face. Gambling, running up debts, the list is endless.
Parenting is intentional. If you don’t want the world to train your children, you have to have a parenting vision and follow it to the letter.