I have written, presented and spoken about so many aspects of parenting, and in particular, parenting in this relatively new digital world. I love getting out to talk to parents and help them tackle the challenges they face as parents as well as those encountered by their children. By researching daily, by talking to kids and by listening to the concerns of parents I have been able to get a really good understanding of what it means to be both a parent and a child growing up today. Most of what I teach therefore comes back to knowledge and perspective. We need this knowledge to come up with strategies and we need this perspective to ensure we remain focused on the most important connection of all…..the one we have with our children.
To highlight some of the core beliefs that form the basis of my teaching, here are some of my favourite quotes and advice that help us get this parenting gig working for ourselves and our kids.
We need to start by recognising that this is the only world our kids have even known…to them it is not the online versus the offline world…it’s just ‘the world’
Despite that, it is also a world that is magnified and exaggerated and mirrored and far more transparent than any we have known before. This extra visibility, oversharing and changes to the notion of privacy, is certainly one of the main areas that cause us concern and needs our attention.
We all like to think our child “would never do that”. Or maybe you are well aware that they would do that but don’t know how to tackle those things they have done or seen. Either way, it is important to know that whatever filters you have in place, whilst important, they are never going to prevent your kids from seeing content that is inappropriate. After all, the average age a child sees porn is 11 and most children have either been a victim, have witnessed or have been bullying themselves since the early years adolescence. We need to make sure we are having the right conversations about how to deal with what they are seeing and experiencing, and not just live in hope that it won’t happen.
Whilst we do all we can whilst our children are young to monitor what they and others are doing online, we will soon come to realise that keeping up with every app or website they ever visit is nigh on impossible. We need to ensure that in those early years, we are teaching them the skills and behaviours they will need to be safe wherever they find themselves….when we are not always going to be able to check up on their every interaction.
When we start making gaming, technology and social media the ‘bad guy’, we risk alienating our children even further. These are the things they love, so we need to ensure we are working with them and the technology, and not in constant battle.
The role we as parents play can never be underestimated. Be the person you want your child to be, behave the way you want them to behave.
….and of course we need not forget this little gem which one would like to think is rather obvious…..but spend a little time online and you’ll soon be aware many, many people are still not taking heed of this advice.
For more advice and actionable strategies to help your child make the most of the all the digital world has to offer whilst minimising the risks, you can download my eBook “Parenting in a digital world: stop fighting, start connecting”.