Parenting in the digital age is a big deal , a lot of Parents have been bugged with the question of when they should give their children phones, as a parent Coach a lot of parents have also reached out to me to know when they should give their children a phone.
Before I give you any response, let me share some mind-blowing statistics about Teenagers and their use of gadgets.
•62% of teenagers admit that they use their phones past bed time.
•77% admit to texting and chatting when they should be asleep.
•67% of teachers admit that today’s teens are more distracted by smart phones all of the time.
•Only 15% of parents know their Child’s online activities and habits.
•44% of teens have watched inappropriate things online and only 24% of these Teena and aware of it.
•90% of Children aged 8- 16 have seen porn online
•70% of children who play games have accidentally seen porn online or doing their home work.
•The largest group.of porn consumers are children ages between 12- 17
No matter how bewildering these statistics are ,it’s important that you still know that , technology also has immense benefits for your child.
Whether you accept it or not technology is here to stay with us, so instead of living in denial, fear , anxiety that leads to a fire brigade approach when things go wrong as a result of handing over a phone to a Child who has not been prepared, go for knowledge.
Unfortunately I have seen parents gift their teens smart Phones for turning 13 or a certain age without any form of plan. It’s akin to giving your child a car to drive without teaching them how to drive.
IS YOUR CHILD TECH SOCIAL OR TECH SAVVY?
Before you hand over a phone to your Child you must understand that there are two types of internet users.
1. Tech Social
2. Tech Savvy
Tech Social users are people who use the internet for the purpose of entertainment, they are solely consumers of the internet.
While Tech Savvy users are people who learn tech in order to create solutions and become productive.
So the question would be , what kind of internet users do you want to raise “a tech savvy child or a tech Social Child’.
The most important question should be what will your Child be doing with that phone or tech gadget.
If you handed a phone to your Child without considering all I will be listing out in this blog post you need to rethink and retrieve it.
The focus of this blog post is not telling you when to give your Child a smart phone but what you must consider.
WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE GIVING YOUR CHILD A PHONE
1. What is my reason for handing this phone to my child? Before handing a phone to your Child , you must look at a lot of parameters. What does this Child need this phone for? Is it for communication, assignment, leisure, productivity. Remember that when the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable.
CHECKLIST TO CONSIDER BEFORE GIVING YOUR CHILD A SMART DEVICE
• How old is my child?
• What is Child’s personality?
• Is my Child disciplined and self controlled?
• How independent is my Child?
• Do they respect limits set for them?
•What device is most appropriate for what your Child wants to do?
•How long will they use the phone?
2.CREATE A FAMILY VALUE SYSTEM
Sometime ago I had a coaching session with a Parent on Social road map for your “Gen z child, and one of the things I needed her to do was to create a family Value system that her Child is aware of.
The first thing every home must have is a written document in form of Family values. A family value plan is a document that contains the traditional or cultural values according to a particular family’s structure, function, roles, beliefs, attitudes and ideals.
It must have the vision and mission of your family.It is one thing to have a value system and another thing for your Children to know about it.Whenever you hand a phone over to your Child , it is like giving them full on access to the world wide web(www). Family value system guides your Children.
3. Family Media Plan: It is a written working document that helps families navigate the digital world. With this you can customize guidelines on screentime ensuring that media use is in line with family values ( this is why you need to create a family values system.
Setting guidelines around media use is important and key.With guidelines in place, you have a launching pad for open and honest conversations about media use which are vital to raising tech-savvy children.
Your family media plan should be a working document and reviewed on a regular basis to keep it relevant. Make sure you get your child’s input if they are of speaking age, so they feel included in the plan that is surely going to impact them.
This Guide will help you:
•Monitor how your children use any gadget
•Help you set guidelines for media use in your home
•Protect Your Children from negative media influence
This personalised plan also helps your Children establish a healthy relationship with media including television , smartphones, computers and tablets.With a media plan , you are able to parent your Child’s online life .
Many children are daily handed a gadget without these necessary steps that have been stated above and unfortunately this has increased the number of children who stumble on porn or even get addicted to porn.
To help you craft your family Media Plan, I have created an easy guide that will help you produce a working document that will help you parent your Child’s online life.