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How Much Digital Access Should Parents Allow Their Children?

Team StoryWeavers|September 1, 2021|

Questions digital parents must ask themselves

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

― James Baldwin, American Novelist

Most parents know that they need to be mindful of how their children are consuming information that is available to them on the internet. Parental involvement plays a critical role in keeping children safe in the digital age. The challenge that most parents face today is that of keeping up with the latest technology, such as apps and gadgets, which evolve every single day. 

What parents need to remember is that the fundamental rules of good behaviour apply in the virtual world as well. 

In this article, we will cover questions that parents need to ask themselves regarding their child’s involvement in the digital world. 

Questions Digital Parents Must Ask Themselves

Dr Yalda T Uhls’s book, Media Moms & Digital Dads; A Fact-Not-Fear Approach to Parenting in the Digital Age, lists a few questions that digital parents need to ask themselves about their child’s involvement in the digital world. Dr Yalda Uhls is a developmental psychologist and an  expert on how media affects children. She is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. Below are sets of questions for parents of children from different age-groups:

For parents with preschool children

Though the internet consumption is the lowest at this age, parents do need to set a few guidelines. They are as follows:

  • Are electronic or digital devices such as computers, televisions, video games allowed in the bedroom? 
  • Will we watch everything that the child is watching? How will we know that it is all age-appropriate?
  • If the child is engaging with digital media on their own, how will we help the child find the best content?
  • How will we ensure that everyone in the family is sticking to predetermined digital rules?

For parents with school-going children

School children consume the internet significantly more than the preschoolers. The book mentions a few questions specifically for parents with school-going children. Parents need to increase their involvement and ask more questions. They are as follows:

  • Are electronic or digital devices such as computers, televisions and video games allowed in the bedroom? 
  • Will we watch everything that the child is watching? How will we know that it is all age-appropriate?
  • How will we teach the child to choose what to watch and learn the difference between good and not-so-good content?
  • How will we teach the child about internet safety? Are we comfortable setting an email account for the child? Are we going to monitor it closely? By what age can the child have their own social media account, smartphone, or any other device?

Parents today have to deal with a lot more than just behaviour and development of the child. For not so tech-savvy parents, this can prove to be more challenging than others. Asking these questions will help you understand where you stand and what more you need to do to keep the child happy and safe in today’s digital age.  

Did you find this article helpful? Would you like to read more about digital parenting? Do you have any questions that you would like us to answer? Let us know in the comments below, or drop a note to [email protected]

Reference:

Uhls, Y. T. (2016). Media Moms & Digital Dads: A Fact-Not-Fear Approach to Parenting in the Digital Age. (n.p.): Taylor & Francis.

About the Author


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Mekhala Joshi

“Me-kha-la!” That happens at least once when she introduces herself to new people. She’s the only ‘Mekhala’ she knows, and she takes a bit of pride in that. She is a quintessential introvert. Mekhala loves tea but cannot make a good cup of tea and often ends up having coffee. She claims that she takes all adjectives as compliments unless specified otherwise. Mekhala is an organizational psychologist and psychometrician. She was a class teacher of 36 adorable girls for two years, grade 2 & 3, as a part of Teach For India Fellowship. And has worked as an independent consultant for a couple of years.

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