After the December holidays, lots of digital kids are using new digital devices.
Each new digital gadget requires that parents update or introduce a family digital device action plan — akin to the rules-of-the-road that are so critical to new drivers.
These days flashy new smartphones, iPads, iPod Touches, music players, computers, laptops, notebooks, and video games are connected in some way to the exciting, but rough and tumble world of the Internet. Sometime during the first week of gadget ownership parents and children need to sit together and review digital behavior and expectations.
Any time a child receives a new digital device, parents need to update or introduce a digital gadget action plan — something akin to the rules-of-the road that are so critical to new teenage drivers. Flashy new smartphones, iPads, iPod Touches, music players, computers, laptops, notebooks, and video games — most connected in some way to the exciting, but rough and tumble world of the Internet — require parents to focus just as intently as they do on driving lessons. Sometime during the first week of gadget ownership, and especially before school vacation ends, sit down with your child and go over the expectations in your action plan.
Even as a youngster thrills to the capabilities of a new device, the potential for digital mistakes and judgment errors exists. A short, sarcastic comment or text can be perceived as cyber-bullying when it reaches its destination. A game can be played online with someone who is more interested in your child than the game. A couple of less than thoughtful words, sent to one person, can be forwarded easily and embarrassingly to many others. The right time to talk about acceptable use and intention versus consequence is when the device is new.
A digital action plan — an agreement, contract, or list of guidelines between you and your child — anticipates potential issues and lays out specific expectations that will arise when a youngster uses a digital device in the wider, less supervised, world.