DON’T MISS THE 2 FREE AND IMPORTANT RESOURCES BELOW TO HELP YOU AS A PARENT
Chris McKenna, a close friend and expert in online child protection, said to me, “There is no such thing as passive parenting in the digital age.” I never forgot that. As a parent myself, I get overwhelmed with how fast things change. There have been times that I am tempted to just give up because I can’t keep up. Technology, apps, new social media platforms, and structures are constantly changing.
When Tik Tok was in the early stages of rapid growth, I asked my then middle schooler, “What is Tik Tok?” Her response: “Dad, you just wouldn’t understand!” And she didn’t even try to articulate to me what it was because she didn’t think I’d be able to understand it. And that was that. She underestimated her dad by the way!
Have you felt this way? Have you felt out of the loop with your children on the latest things with phones and technology? If so, you’re in good company. Here are some thoughts about how you can stay connected to your technologically connected kids:
- STAY ENGAGED
The most important characteristic of a parent in any area of life is engagement with their children. I have worked with thousands of families, and a very high majority of problems I’ve seen in students have been rooted in disengaged parents. If you disengage, then things can go south quickly. Don’t allow your student’s technologically enhanced disengagement keep you from staying engaged in their life. You may need to start slow with changes, but don’t just allow them to close their door with a digitally connected device for hours at a time.
I have told our kids that “As long as we are paying for your phone, I have the right at any and all times to take your phone and explore what is on it.”
I know their passcodes.
I have their physical location turned on and always handy if I need it. I am in their business when it comes to their phones and interactions through them.
I do not allow them to join any platform without my consent. Arianna and I continually remind them that we will be involved in their digital life.
- HOPE FOR THE BEST, BUT CONSIDER THE WORST
Our kids are not perfect, neither are yours. They will make mistakes. Allowing them access to any and all information in the world without any kind of guidance and oversight is bad parenting. While you may think, “My son or daughter would never do that!” when it comes to places they go and things they do online, don’t be fooled. I’ve taken the stance that while I hope for the best, I consider the worst that could happen.
We can never be too cautious about how others are interacting with our kids and protecting them. We also can’t be too cautious about looking over their “digital shoulder” to see what they are doing and when they are doing it.
Chris McKenna, mentioned earlier in this article, founded an organization called “Protect Young Eyes.” Let me highly encourage you to subscribe to his email list that continually has up-to-date information for us as parents.
Here are two helpful conversations on my podcast about helping our kids in the digital realm.
Jeff Eckart, CEO
Never The Same
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