While there are strong arguments against screen time and there are calls for the use of less apps, devices and technology by kids because they are perceived as barriers to interpersonal interaction, the case for technology for educating, training and enhancing development is strong as well.
Children these days are digital natives from birth. This new generation was born in the age of technology and a lot of children learn their ABCs from rhymes they listen on TV or tablets, not necessarily from toys or books.
Video games are just a click away. Gen Z consists of fast learners that process short, preferably visual, information easily and quickly. Hence the popularity of picture based social apps. A lot of tweens, teens and in-between prefer texting, so much so that their parents and most adults do not even understand their language.
Shopping, Gaming and corresponding are all done online. Hanging out in shopping malls, going to the arcade and writing letters have long since been obsolete.
This aptness leaves the parents or digital immigrants baffled sometimes. Parents get weary when they hear stories on the news about kids getting involved in sexting and its consequences. News pieces about online dating resulting in violence and child predators using social media information to kidnap young kids are all quite scary for modern parents.
But there are things parents can do and fortunately, apps available that can help.
Learning and using technology
It is advised to parents that they learn technology. Use smartphones and go on the internet. This is the only way they can connect more with their kids and understand the depth of their problems. If they’d understand how these gadgets work they’d then be able to use it for their help and benefit. If you have a similar situation at home, you should start adapting to technical changes happening around us instead of running from them. Your children are going to adopt these changes sooner or later and you won’t be able to help them without technical knowledge.
How does technology help?
There are a lot of parental control apps around. One we learned of recently called FamilyTime (available on iTunes and Google Play) helps parents facilitate communication and monitor their kids’ digital lives. This type of app also help parents monitor and interrupt dangerous activities like sexting, oversharing with strangers, using unsafe mobile apps and becoming too screen addicted.
With the FamilyTime app and similar apps like it, parents can keep an eye on the following:
- Web history
- Frequently visited sites
- Text messages
- Installed apps
- Location history
You can restrict the use of:
- Mobile applications.
- Untimely and excessive device use with screen locks.
- Speed limits
You can get alerted for:
- Geofenced places
- Panic situations
- Pickup reminders
- Suspicious contacts
- Blacklisted apps
Set Safety boundaries
They may be tech smart but they are still kids and they can commit mistakes or do things that can cause them harm. Kids also tend to hide their digital activity from parents, especially cyberbullying and sexting. In that case, you need to monitor them to know what they are up to. Even if they don’t hide they can get into trouble by mistake. They might be the digital natives, but they should know their boundaries.
Utilize a parental control app and keep the young digital natives safe! Good luck parents!