Every child today is sufficiently adept with using technology. They develop an interest in technology at a very young age and start exploring it by themselves.
It has become an important part of their lives and they require using it for almost all purposes, be it entertainment or learning. Most parents and even teachers feel unmatched by the young people in their lives when it comes to technology. It is often felt that children are growing up in a virtual world where they are learning to navigate the world around them without the emotional and social experience of adults. Parents allow their children to grow up with technology but themselves remain oblivious to it. They miss out on so many things that their children do with technology as they are not aware of its usage, positives and negatives and hence cannot guide the children to use technology safely and effectively.
In order to guide their child on technology the first thing that parents need to do is to learn it themselves. They need to be aware of all the latest technology and its uses and should know what technology their child uses and in what ways. Parents always need to monitor their child's technology usage and mentor him on using it because without this their child will grow up with technology on his own, relying on other children to explain the rules and ramifications of using technology. There have been growing issues like cyber-bullying, cyber-baiting, to rising concerns over Internet safety, cyber-crime and the oversharing of personal information online, due to which parents face the 21st century set of digital challenges. Today, kids are being trained to use every gadget imaginable but not to consider its positive or negative impact on their lives. Given the speed at which technology moves, parents are often quite slow to catch up. The biggest threat on Internet today is the non-involvement of parents in their children’s use of technology.
Parents will always have a huge role to play in the process of educating their children. They need to catch up with the speed of advancing technology, to be able to successfully guide their children. They need to involve themselves in their child’s usage of technology and make an effort at the earliest possible to keep them safe online. They should take the responsibility of inculcating digital citizenship in their child and should themselves be aware of what’s going on in the digital age. They should make sure that cyber education is an integral part of their child’s education process and should have the knowledge of the evolving tech platforms and the new ethical codes.
To guide their child, parents need to know enough technology so that they can understand its implications and make its use effectual for their child. They need to put in efforts to learn and understand technology. Here are a few ways in which parents can learn technology and become able to guide their child in using it:
Develop curiosity: To start using technology, you need to develop an interest and curiosity in it. Start discussing about technology at your home and workplace. Share your interests with others and invite their thoughts and ideas on using technology. Know about how your friends and colleagues are using technology for their own benefits and that of their family. Ask them to suggest you ways of getting started with using technology. Find out what technological devices your child is using, how he’s using it, what he’s exploring on the Web and discuss about it with him. Try playing online games with your child and develop his and your own learning through gaming elements. Be interested in using technology for some of your everyday errands and also help your child with homework and assignments with the help of technology. You can also talk to your child’s teachers about the technology that he is using at school and discuss about what he is learning with it.
Grow your tech vocabulary: The technological vocabulary is quite distinct and you need to develop it in order to make progress in the tech world. Be familiar with the words that are being commonly used on the Web. You can do this by interacting more on the social platforms and by using them to learn. For instance, the Twitter vocabulary is quite in rage and knowing it is essential to use the site effectively. The use of words like hashtags, tweet, retweet, tag and more is prevalent on Twitter. If your tech vocabulary is good enough, then you can easily connect to people online to learn with and from them and be on track with the tech culture.
Explore and try using technology by yourself: Once you’re familiar with certain tech terms, you can start exploring technology on your own. Explore to discover new and interesting technology and find out which of it you would like to use. You should not expect that you’ll be able to use it perfectly at first, but eventually you’ll find your way. This is how your child explores and starts using technology and slowly becomes fully adept with it. You can also seek help of your child as children like to teach and can be very good at teaching what interests them. You can share your ideas and experiences with other parents and learn along with them. Technology is never so difficult to cope up with and trying it out by yourself will definitely help you learn it.
Two important suggestions for parents are that you should never be afraid of technology and whenever you get hold of any technological device make the most of it by using it on your own and along with your child; when you’re using technology with your child, get him to explain his ideas and take the opportunity to discuss and share your own ideas and opinions with him.
It is of utmost necessity for parents to learn enough technology as they need to start guiding their child with the use of technology at an early age. They can always get more involved in their child’s digital life and watch his steps. They can also enroll themselves in training programs to learn more about digital technology and ethics and become aware of the potential threats to educate their children about the dangers of too much digitalization or socializing. With technology becoming a necessary part of day-to-day lives, parents can no longer afford to ignore its impact on their child. Though it has a boundless potential to improve a child’s life, leaving children alone and unprepared to navigate around its pitfalls will not do.
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