When I was your age, we read the newspapers, there was no radio.
When I was your age, we listened to the radio, there was no TV.
When I was your age we watched TV, but only on Saturday mornings and Sunday night Disney. There was only one channel.
When I was your age, we watched cable TV, but there was no internet.
When I was your age...
They say that the only constant in life is change. I believe it, especially when I look at the way technology is advancing and the impact that it has on our world. The place I see this impact the most seems to be with my children. Parenting has NEVER been easy. It is a hard job. That being said, parenting in the digital world can be a difficult thing to navigate.
When I was your age, there was no YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, Minecraft, Roblox, Facebook, Instagram – I’ll stop there, but you get the idea. There is a never-ending stream of new social media platforms, apps and games that our children are wanting to access, and I have no clue what most of them are all about.
I don’t necessarily want to know what they are all about, but I know that I should as a responsible parent. So I try. I read and I research. And then I read other people’s research and I try to come up with a plan. And then, the plan changes because there is a new platform that my child would prefer. Ahhhhh!
Does any of this sound familiar? If it does, I promise that there is hope. We do not need to research every new game and app. We need to TALK to our children. Conversations about being a good digital citizen and staying safe online are the answer, and the best part is that other people have created a way to start these conversations for us!
Here are a few examples of great resources for parents to use. As with many things, it’s never too early to start the digital conversation and it's important to keep it going. It's not a one time thing.
If we have an open and honest conversation about the online world our children are exposed to, we have the best shot and knowing if something is amiss and the best shot at our children recognizing and sharing with us when it happens. We will never be able to keep up with the all the technology changes. It’s an exercise in futility!
So engage your children early and talk about what digital footprints, digital citizenship and online privacy mean – teach critical thinking – it never ages.
Looking for more support on how to talk with your children about the digital world? Contact the nearest CBAL community literacy coordinator nearest you.
Community Literacy Coordinator Golden
Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy