With the advent of the digital age and the introduction of digital technologies to families worldwide, parenting evolved. This evolution pertains to the ways of how to conduct parenting as the goals and fundamental roles of parents remain unchanged.
It is entirely natural for you to care for your child more than anyone else as a parent. This care is not limited to the physical world but extends to those beyond, to places created by modern times. The current digital age provided parents new ways to bond with their children, but at the same time, it also gave new challenges. So, it is not short of saying that technology transformed the way parents interact with their children.
There is a big difference in how the parents of before interact with their children than that of today’s parents. This difference means different ways of treating children, different principles, and different practices and styles of parenting. The changing times and changing digital society widen the generational gap between parents and their children. Through their explorative spirit and inherent curiosity, children can easily and happily use and explore technology. Some parents see this as bad though kids find it pleasurable. These issues are some of the challenges that make digital parenting hard,and these were the reasons for the gap. As such, these issues need to be addressed first before parents can move forward towards positive digital parenting.
In a world where children are swiftly becoming digital citizens, it is imperative for parents to understand the what and the know-how of technology. Technology per se is not bad;with proper limitations and access, the adverse effects of it can be avoided. Understanding it is a prerequisite in positive digital parenting, which serves as an avenue for transferring traditional values from the real world to the online world.
What is Positive Digital Parenting?
To understand what positive digital parenting is, one needs to understand first what positive parenting is. Positive parenting refers to the parental behavior that guides and disciplines children while respecting the children’s best interests and rights at the same time. This kind of parenting is in congruence with the principles stated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
Parents who do positive parenting find the right balance. They blend the strengths of the traditional parenting styles (authoritative authoritarian, permissive, etc.) and avoid the respective drawbacks. They recognize the rights of the children and the children themselves. This recognition, in turn, makes parents as individuals who nurture, guide, and empowers children to achieve their fullest potential.
Adding the word digital in positive parenting would make it positive digital parenting. Positive digital parenting is the same as positive parenting, except that its concern ismore tightly tied to the digital world and technology. This kind of parenting in the digital world respects children’s rights online, empowering them to achieve better heights in the digital environment. Here, parents allow children to use technology while placing safety measures and resilience-building mechanisms simultaneously. Positive digital parenting makes parents support factors that help children realize and maximize the benefits brought by technology while simultaneously guiding them through conversations and trust. The regular suggestion of real-life activities is also part of this “guiding.”
What is the goal of Positive Digital Parenting?
The goal of Positive Digital Parenting is to foster an environment where parenting serves as a means to promote a safe and responsible digital community. This promotion is done by letting children interact in the digital domain, providing sufficient resources, and teaching them the principles and values that need to be observed while at the same time putting limitations to make them have enough interaction in the real world. Through these, positive digital parenting serves as a bridge in building communication and trust between parents and their children.
What are the five essential tools of Positive Digital Parenting?
According to the brochure entitled PARENTING IN THE DIGITAL AGE, Positive parenting strategies for different scenarios prepared by Dr. Elizabeth Milovidov, JD for the Council of Europe, the five essential tools positive digital parenting engages are communication, critical thinking, citizenship, continuity, and community
1. Communication. Communication is an integral part, if not the most critical part of positive digital parenting. Parents who can communicate with their children can better understand, guide, and monitor the conduct of their children online.
To achieve communication, parents can opt to ask their children. They can use questions like “how was your online day?” or “what is the name of the game you played?. Through these questions, parents can show their interest in the children’s online activities. The goal of communication is to let children open up, so if they respond to these questions, the goal will be slowly achieved. If they opened up then, parents could even have more profound knowledge about their activities without asking too privy questions.
Parents can likewise express their interest in everyday, regular, and non-threatening activities like doing household chores, playing sports, driving, etc. They can also join them in their online activities like playing games provided that they are ready
2. Critical Thinking. This skill is important to let people reflect and analyze an act even before the actual action. Parents manage the finances, and they are the one who decides whether a new gadget, game or any other technological tool and application are needed. If they agreed that it is required, parents couldcreate digital rules to ensure safety and privacy before or upon acquiring these things.
When creating digital rules, make sure that it is reflective of your family. Ensure that the guidelines work best for you and your children. Make sure that the rules and guidelines allow them to benefit from the opportunities while at the same time protecting them from harm. And once the rules are in place, be consistent with their implementation and regularly communicate them to your children.
By analyzing things in advance, parents are showing their children how to be critical thinkers. Critical thinking is a skill that can be applied in several things like internet and technology use. It is also an indispensable asset in the 21st century.
3. Citizenship. Digital citizenship is an essential aspect that children should come to understand. It refers to people who have enough knowledge to use technology to communicate with others effectively—it is about confidently engaging with the different digital technologies of today.
Digital citizenship is not that different from known citizenship; it is just that it is online, but the same notions apply. So, parents can still guide children on how to become good citizens. They can have citizenship dialogue with their children where they can explain what to do and what to avoid. They can also talk about the social and interpersonal implications of using technologies.
4. Continuity. Once communication is built, parents should make it stay. It is necessary to have a continued communication even when the topic is uncomfortable. With continuous communication, parents and children can discover more about each other. They can discuss online activities during simple activities like while walking, driving, cleaning, etc. Continuity also paves the way for trust and deeper understanding.
5. Community. Parents are not alone in parenting. Though they are the primary actors in guiding the children., the community plays an equally significant role. Parents of classmates, online parents, communities, neighborhoods, etc., can help you in parenting. This help will be in conversations about shared goals, strategies, best practices, etc.
What is the use of Positive Digital Parenting to parents?
Positive Digital Parenting is beneficial not only to kids but as well as to parents. Their relationship towards their children and their parenting “skill” is bound to benefit upon adopting and implementing such a parenting model.
According to the factsheet on positive parenting from Internet Literacy Handbook (2017), the following are the parenting benefits parents are bound to have if they use positive digital parenting.
• A trusted line towards their children. Parents can communicate freely with their children and strike meaningful conversations about the use of the internet, its risks, and its corresponding benefits.
• Parents who use positive digital parenting can have regular involvement in children’s online activities. However, this does not mean total access.
• Parents are inherently protective of their children, and this is almost a naturalinstinct, if not really an instinct. Thus, through positive digital parenting, parents can actively protect their children’s digital reputation and identity.
• It could pave the way for bonding, like learning the digital world’s opportunities together.
• Parents can protect their children from the harm of the internet. Positive Digital Parenting gives parents the chance to distance their children from danger, whether physical, social, emotional, or psychological threats. Through this “model,” they can guide them on avoiding it and tell them why they should avoid it.
• The skills parenting skills parents acquired from the online world are transferable. Therefore, their strategies to engage, support, guide, and discipline their children online can also be used offline.
Parents cannot totally shut children from technology since it is widely integrated into society and almost always present, so they have to deal with it. Adapting to the changing times is necessary. Suppose parents want to guide and support their children in the digital age. In that case, transforming their parenting style and method could be one way to execute it properly. Parents have to guide and teach them about the healthy concepts of digital use and citizenship since they are the more knowledgeable other. It is already well-established that technology is something useful if utilized correctly. With positive digital parenting, parents can support their children in maximizing the benefits of such technologies while doing their parenting simultaneously.
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