New year, new gear, shiny new tablets under the tree – it’s a great opportunity to get some resolutions in place for the kind of digital life you want for you and your family.
First things first, technology is here to stay, so embrace it. Let’s not get into the habit of saying, “when I was young we talked to each other, made mud pies and played board games”, because kids today are still doing all those things. But they have the internet too, and they need our help both practically and emotionally to make the best of it. So, let’s jump on board, but just make sure your seatbelt is fastened and you’re in the driving seat.
OK, ready? Let’s go!
- Get stuck in – if your kids are enjoying a game or an app, understand why – play it, engage with them about it. Bridge that gap and avoid being perceived as out of touch, you might enjoy it too!
- Seek out the good stuff – there is SO much great content online; engaging, creative, inspiring games, videos and social communities, but it’s also incredibly easy to find yourself aimlessly scrolling. So, let’s be mindful. Choose the good stuff for yourself, and help guide your children’s choices too. We love the Digital 5-a-day from the Children’s Commissioner.
- Take charge – as you reach for your phone for the 100th time today, ask yourself who is in control – you or your phone? Fight the urge to respond to every notification, maybe that means turning them off, maybe it means setting aside a time to respond. But either way, know that you absolutely are in control.
- Commit to a digital sundown – maybe it’s 6pm for them and 8pm for you. All that light before bed tells our brains it’s wide awake time, so make a bedtime for your devices and tuck them in.
- Review your privacy settings – this is something we are so guilty of putting our heads in the sand about, but it’s hugely important. Maybe start with downloading a copy of the data Facebook holds about you.
- Make the most of parental controls – there are so many ways you can be in control of what you want your children to access online whether via your broadband, or directly on tablets and smartphones. The NSPCC has all the information and ‘how to’ guides you need.
- Learn something new – if you feel like your kids are already outsmarting you online, then make this the year you get to grips with something new. Whether that’s understanding Snapchat, or learning a bit of coding with Run Marco on Azoomee.
- Set an example – if that beautiful account you follow on Instagram makes you feel like your home is a pigsty, maybe it is time to unfollow and cultivate a positive community. Or maybe you feel like you’re addicted to scrolling through social media at 11pm, if so, it’s time to take back control, both for yourself and to set an example for your kids. The links between social media and the emotional wellbeing of children and teenagers is something we are all increasingly mindful of, so start those conversations early about what’s real online and what’s not, how things can be designed to be addictive and how you have to be in control. There are some great videos to help start these conversations, like these Search It Up videos from Azoomee.
Have fun and happy 2018 all!