Digital parenting is a process to supervise the online activities of children.
COVID 19 pandemic has forced children to stay indoors 24 ×7. Schools are closed but not learning. Online classes are attended. Digital contents are delivered. Their screen time has gone widened. They are in unfathomable pain of not meeting their friends. Human is social by nature. One feels uncomfortable in the absence of being socially active. They talk to each other using mobile. They download forms of various procedures and competitions and submit them. They help family and friends to guide them in solving their digital problems. They are digital natives. Hence children are much more with gadgets. According to the Pew Research Centre, 65% of parents in the U.S. claim to be worried about the online life of their children. Their worrisomeness dictates parents to supervise how children visit digital media and their platforms. It is indeed not possible to limit and actively supervise them at the time of the digital revolution. It is ruthlessly essential to access digital content for education, entertainment, and digital literacy in the information age. Most of the transactions are carried out online.
Parents need to establish good communication. They listen to children for understanding their feelings. They should shift their focus from self to children. They should strike a balance between online life and outside. Parents can ask their children politely to design their routine. When children design their own routine, they have ownership and materialize it. Parents must have digital literacy. They must be aware of ongoing trends. They should be well versed in the procedures of the school. They should have a dialogue with their children. They ought to exchange pleasantry regularly. Parents must talk to children on a variety of topics. They must always avoid offending and humiliating children. Low and polite conversation helps the connection. They could seek suggestions on discipline to create order. They can browse and access digital content together. Consequently, there wouldn’t be chances of disobedience.
Pediatricians strongly recommend no screen time for kids under 24 months except for some live video chat until aged 6. Their development is stunted. It is repeatedly been suggested to avoid violent, unkind, screaming, and cursing contents. Interaction driven learning could be promoted. Online etiquettes are imparted to not go beyond the accepted behavior online. Parents are the role model. When they wish to minimize screen time of their children, they should minimize theirs too not only in front of them but in all aspects of their life except professional and urgent commitment. Tech free zone can be demarcated at home. No screen family routine could also be fixed. Since we are first-generation digital parents and digital migrants, we should seek suggestions from other parents, relatives, other children, and experts. We must intensify our search to be better digital parents consistently. We should have profound reflections before responding to children on media consumption and its variety. Involvement and engaging one shall be utterly useful. A British study found that parents share around 1500 images of their children by the time, they are 5. We must think twice. Trusted children draw better decisions. We must appreciate children staying indoors with calm and patience. Parents must allow them to play in the spaces, yelling, expressing, committing mistakes, etc. We must facilitate them as long as we are in lockdown and beyond too. They need us more and we need them more as they are.
Post lockdown will witness the flood of digital information. Thousands of learning platforms. Teachers are transformed. Camera shy ones are bold. They are more vocal, confident, and techno-savvy. The irrigation of digital consumption pre lockdown has become a water storm post lockdown. Digital leaders are already flourished. Webinars in corporates have reached the streets and will have quicker striders. The technology which was doubling in 18 months shall accelerate further. Digital innovations will be the norm. Digital parenting will also not be obsolete. It shall have more intensity and engagement. It has indeed become acceptable normal in all webs of society. Children will have all genres of information. Digital parents have transformed themselves and are realizing the immense need for digital content in all aspects of life. Future leadership will also be depending much on tech and soft skills. Digital parents will have reverse digital education from their children. There is none who shall not be a winner in this journey of digital parenting after riding the Tsunami of digital info. The children in the guardianship of these concerned and considerate digital parents will certainly be successful as sons, daughters, and responsible citizen of India and the world.
Brief About the Author
Mr. Nahid Raza, Principal, ACME School of Learning, Bilaspur
Nahid Raza is a principal at ACME School of Learning, Bilaspur (Rampur) U.P. He has around 10 years of experience in teaching English. He conducts educational and corporate workshops also writes columns on education and parenting.