Parenting in the Digital Age
We are raising two young daughters in these modern times. Here are the things that we have been committing to do while parenting in the digital age.
Written by Lovingly, Papa Dennis
Parenting in the Digital Age for our Family
As you know, we are homeschooling our two daughters, which we plan to continue till high school. That has always been the thrust of our family. For now, little Shane is in Kinder School at Bright Kids Preschool Lucasan. After that, she will also start homeschooling in Bacolod.
As parents, we keep their bodies healthy and strong by giving them nutritious and clean food. But wellness is not just physical. We also closely monitor what we let them watch, read, and experience for their emotional, mental, spiritual, and psychological health. So here are the things that we consciously do to cope with parenting in the digital age.
No to Regular TV Programming
We let our eldest daughter Dindin have screen time at 7 months. She would watch educational videos to foster learning. When she got bigger, she joined us in the dining room for a family meal time.
However, the grandparents prefer to watch TV during meal times. Aside from being a distraction, what is being shown during meal times are telenovelas. These contents are not suitable for young audiences. Sometimes, even the commercials are not very modest either. So her mom would often tell her to avert her eyes whenever there’s a scene that’s not for her.
Eventually, Dindin got annoyed with the fact that her viewing keeps getting censored. As she also got aware about the MTRCB ratings of G, PG and SPG, she can tell if it is SPG and she self-censors herself. So she no longer liked eating at the dining area. Since then, she has never watched Filipino channels. And the practice continued on with Shane. That is also the reason why they do not know any local actors. And we are fine with that.
I personally pick out the educational videos that my daughters watch. But there are also shows and movies that they request, like when they get to watch commercials in hotels.
When they have a request, I would do my research at home. I read reviews and parenting articles related to the shows. Then I would look for a sample video and watch by myself. If I find them suitable, then that is the time that I would look for resources for the full videos.
Regulated gadget use
In our family, we didn’t completely ban gadgets. We just regulate the use. After all, technology keeps advancing so it will be everywhere soon. And the job opportunities are more abundant in the field of information technology.
We also believe that we can use gadgets to enhance our children’s learning experiences. And eventually in their jobs or business, they will also need the help of technology.
Gadgets are not exactly bad. It’s just like money, which is something amoral. It’s the way we use gadgets that make them bad for our children.
With the use of gadgets, I think that balance is an important word to emphasize. My wife is a blogger and I also contribute articles from time to time. So in a way, teaching the kids the craft can also give them an option about sources of income in the future.
YouTube Censorship while Parenting in the Digital Age
For us, it’s not enough to just turn on the age restriction filter. There are seemingly innocuous videos like My Little Pony or Barbie that have been made by fans.
Sometimes, the kids would ask to watch Youtube videos and we let them. Although the filter is on, there are suggested videos on the side. The kids can easily click on them after they are done watching the videos they request.
These videos have thumbnails that innocent enough and are made professionally. But my wife got to listen to one of the dialogues. The video was full of negativity and was spouting wrong values.
Since then, the kids were told not to click on other videos aside from the ones that they asked for. Thankfully, our girls are taking our censorship rather seriously.
Technology as a powerful tool in homeschooling
We are homeschooling our children and we have used technology to help us in our journey.
One time, we were discussing about homeschooling with other V-Group (bible study group) parents. The discussion led to what if the parent doesn’t know much about the subject or lesson? Thanks to Google and the many tools in the internet, our problem is easily and quickly resolved.
If parents believe or are convinced that homeschooling is the best educational system for their kids, the digital age has made resources abundant. Information is more accessible, which makes homeschooling a powerful way to educate today’s generation.
Intentionally Teaching Outdoor games
One of the problems of too much gadget use is that, kids are no longer playful. They would rather just sit on the couch and tinker with their tablet or smartphone.
As we control their gadget use, we encourage our kids to play outdoor games. They especially like bouncing on a trampoline. Too bad we don’t have an expansive lawn for them to run around. So we just make do with whatever we can provide them.
They also join dance classes and go swimming whenever we can for their physical activities. We set up play dates with whoever wants to play with them. They also play a lot of role playing games, even just by themselves.
Using the Internet
For now, we have not yet allowed both girls to have their own gadgets. They are not yet free to use the internet on their own. We are thinking of letting Dindin have her own computer when she is already 10. But as for internet access, we will still think about it. She is 9 years old now.
Being a Good Example
I think that even grown ups should regulate themselves in using gadgets. We grown ups are so drawn to gadgets because of social media and videos. Sometimes, we are more interested with our friends in social media than the ones we are physically with. And this set up has also lead to a lot of social and even emotional disorders.
Honestly, this is really hard to do. I have not been a good example to my kids as well.
We were watching the animated film Wall-E one Sunday afternoon at home. I was telling my kids the reason why we regulate their use of gadgets is because we don’t want them to become like the people in the spaceship. They were already obese because they have relied on gadgets to do everything for them.
I told Shane to stop whining and complaining because we are only helping them. Then I said, “so don’t spend too much time on gadgets.” Shane responded, “Grown ups are not very good at avoiding gadgets.” OUCH!!
Hootsuite “Digital in 2018” report of digital trends around the world revealed that the Philippines now has 67 million Internet users. All of them are active on social media. This widespread use of the internet gives rise to incidences of internet-related crimes such as rape, theft, bullying, and piracy. The general public, especially the youth, are very vulnerable.
As a purveyor of digital lifestyle, Globe Telecom came out with the #makeITsafePH cybersecurity and cyberwellness campaign. It aims to educate consumers about online threats and what they can do to avoid becoming a victim.
The campaign also teaches proper online etiquette as we navigate the digital world.