10 step guide to parenting in the digital age

Starting with iOS 12, Apple included a screen time feature in their phones and tablets. Google also launched its Digital well-being with Android 9.0. Thus, 2019 has been the year when focus shifted to adults using their mobile devices responsibly. But what about our children? If the adults can’t resist addiction to social media, emails, chats and so on, how can we expect a child to resists them?

Modern parenting has evolved to a point where parents have to teach responsible device usage to their child. Here is a ten-step guide to help you get started with this new responsibility.

1. Be the role model

You can encourage your child to use their mobile responsibly by being their role model. Teach them simple etiquette of usage such as not looking at screen when talking to a person. If you exhibit a behavior contrary to what you are teaching them (eg – checking emails or facebook while talking to them about their school), the children will also learn and reflect the same behavior. Remember, cell phone addiction could become hereditary!

2. Set rules

Discuss what is the responsible usage of a mobile device for young children. Have an open chat with them by agreeing to rules about what, where, and when the child can use. Set up blackout periods when the device has to be turned off (such as family dinner time). Agree on what apps can be used by the child and what kind of games they can play for a set time. Some parents follow the practice of writing down the agreed rules (“pact”) and keeping it as a handy reference.

3. Set expectations

Let your child know that ownership of mobile phones comes with a responsibility. The child needs to take care of the phone, ensure that it is not lost, broken, or misplaced. The phone is a communication device first and the child must answer parents’ calls and respond to messages.

4. Manage social media and chats

Social media has a strong allure for children since it opens a new world of possibilities for them. Educate them on the risks of engaging in online interaction with strangers (similar to not taking ice cream from strangers). It is strongly advised that children below 12 years should not be on social media. If you still want to allow your child to use social media, restrict them to only one social media app. Our Free Guide on handling Social Media for Children has 3 golden rules that you can follow to manage social media for your child. Click here to download it for free.

5. Get your child active

Make sure your child does some physical activity frequently. Break up screen time rather than allowing your kids to sit with the mobile for hours at a stretch. Physical exercise also helps boost the mental capabilities of children.

6. Safe tech set up for the child

Give your child a safe environment to explore their curiosity online. Manage their privacy settings in order to protect them from things they shouldn’t see or experience online. Set search engines to safe mode so that they do not see any inappropriate content by mistake.

7. Avoid cyber-bullying

Explain to your child when they see something online that makes them feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or worried, they must leave the website, turn off their device and talk to you about it immediately. Let your children know that they can speak to you freely if someone harasses them online or through text. Additionally, educate your child about the harm they could cause by bullying or abusing others in the digital space.

8. Using mobile devices for learning

Mobile devices are fun for children. But they can be educational too. Include apps related to simple math, reading and literacy, foreign languages, motor skills, and development with a fair amount of joyful learning. You can also encourage your child to use note-taking and time management. These will help them learn to be more organized and punctual.

9. No mobile usage before bedtime

Screens can keep your children awake much longer post bedtime and can also get very addictive. The artificial light from the device can also interfere with your child’s sleeping pattern. It is best not to use mobile devices for an hour before your child goes to bed. Qubit phones allow you to set the Night-Time for your child which can ensure that they stop using the device when its time to sleep.

10. Buy a child friendly phone

Qubit phones are specially designed for children with love, care, and responsibility. Qubit phones help parents to teach good digital habits to their children through built-in controls that allow parents to easily set up rules related to usage and ensure child’s online safety. Click here to explore and learn more.

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