How Digital Parenting Tools Present Online Learning Opportunities for Kids
Kids Don’t Know Everything There is About Online
Parents of the youngest generations have quickly learned that their kids are much more comfortable with technology than they are. A recent Pew Research survey shows that 26% of parents cite technology as why parenting is more challenging today. Many parents feel that the increased use of technology and rapid technological innovations can be hard to keep up with — so much so that many believe there is nothing they can teach their children about their devices, applications, or the internet in general. However, this is a misconception, according to FOSI. They posited that children might know how to use social apps without much direction, but do they know how to use online educational tools like Google Docs for assignments?
“We look at youth as being these digital natives, but we understand that technology is a tool, right? That tool can be utilized to engage with entertainment and information…Just because you utilize it doesn’t mean you know how to use it in different, sometimes sophisticated ways,” said Jimmeka Anderson, Founder and Executive Director of I AM not the Media, Inc., during a FOSI online seminar on Emotional Intelligence and Education Technology. “There is a need to find a balance with tech use.”
Teaching Good Digital Citizenship
During its online seminar, FOSI discussed the concept of Digital Citizenship, referring to the act of respectfully engaging with others online, reporting illicit behavior, and keeping the privacy of yourself and others protected through mindful posting and internet use. In an age where children are online more than half of their day, teaching them how to be good citizens online is just as important when they’re offline.
Parents can begin the conversation by introducing learning apps or creative software to kids as an alternative to entertainment and social media. That is not to say the latter can’t be used for online learning purposes, however. Plenty of content creators produce educational content that parents show their kids to promote more productive screen use during the day. This can be even more effective with the inclusion of the right digital parenting tools. One example is to use app monitoring tools to see if a child used an educational or creative app for an hour instead of Tik Tok. Parents can reward them for making that decision, positively reinforcing this behavior.
But this concept isn’t limited to children, as adults can also use these tools to help teach themselves good screen habits. App limiters like a dedicated focus mode can help curb excessive or harmful screen time. This also helps parents show their kids how to exercise good digital citizenship by example. While the internet is more catered toward youths than older generations, there are numerous ways to encourage responsible use of time online for all ages. Taking the time to think about promoting suitable online activities in a positive light rather than just the negative is a step everyone can take for a safer, respectful internet experience.