It’s often said that the latest generation of kids have been born with devices in their hands. Commonly referred to as the “iGeneration” or “Digital Natives”, these youngsters are the first group of individuals to have been raised in a world dominated by digital technology. While individuals from elder generations recall an existence before email and smartphones, Digital Natives have been exposed to these technologies virtually from conception (admit it Moms and Dads, there’s a maternity photo floating around somewhere on your Facebook feed…).
While early integration with the Internet, social networks and digital devices has certainly provided the iGeneration with an inherent understanding of technology, parents shouldn’t let this lull them into a false sense of security. Just because a child knows how to tap, swipe, scroll and click their way around a screen, doesn’t necessarily mean that they understand the repercussions of their actions. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to sit them down and explain the birds and the bees the importance of safe tech.
When to Talk to Your Child About Tech
How and when you choose to broach the Tech Talk is up to you. In most cases it will depend a lot on the age and maturity of your child. In other words, the guidance that you provide a tech-savvy 10-month-old toddler will be quite different from the instructions that you offer to a proficient preteen.
That being said, your Tech Talk should touch on the following five items in some way, shape or form:
1. Potential Safety Concerns
As in the real world, not everything or everyone your child encounters will have their best interests in mind. And, just like in the real world, it’s your job as a parent to help teach your son or daughter how to distinguish between safe experiences and dangerous ones. If you’re dealing with a toddler, this could be as simple as explaining that not all buttons lead to good places. With an older child, explain that Mommy and Daddy like to review each app or game in order to make sure that it’s safe and fun.
In order to ensure your child’s safety, it may be necessary to set limits on what he or she can do with your iPad. Clearly articulating these rules and boundaries from the get-go will ensure that everyone is aware of the expectations.
3. Monitoring and Consequences
Make it clear that, while you trust your child, you have the power to restrict access to certain apps and features if you deem them inappropriate. What’s more, you reserve the right to review their iPad at any time. Make sure that they understand that technology is a privilege, not a right.
Not sure how to configure your child’s iPad so that it’s safe and suitable for their purposes? Here’s an article that shows you how to convert your old device into child-friendly tablet.
Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to interact with complete strangers. Make sure that your child knows that the same rules apply online as they do offline: never share personal information with strangers.
5. It’s Not a Toy
While it offers up tons of fun interactive experiences, make sure that your child understands that their iPad is a very expensive piece of hardware. It is important that they take good care of it.
Have you had the Tech Talk with your child yet? Share your experience on our Facebook page!