Welcome to Kira's Blog

Welcome to My Blog

Life with young children can be challenging, but with the support and advice of friends, we can feel empowered and thankful for the blessing of being a Mom.

My musings are those of a self-proclaimed attachment-parenting Tiger mom, who juggles full-time mommying with a small (but growing!) baby-related business. I hope some of my thoughts help you
Enjoy your day, Enjoy your night, and Enjoy your kids!!!

Friday, December 2, 2016

7 Tips to Taming Technology

In today's world, smartphones are in the hands of younger and younger audiences, giving them access to information and technology that is beyond limits.

Having participated in a few programs and discussions on how to manage this new technology pervasiveness, here are a few tips on how to safely manage family technology use:

1. Be a Role Model. As in all other aspects of parenthood, children turn to their parents for advice and guidance. If you are constantly connected, then they will likely be as well. If you share inappropriate texts or photos, they will likely do the same. And most importantly: if you are constantly distracted by your phone or screen, they will be as well. In other words: if you think your child is: a) addicted to his/her device or game, b) rude or inappropriate online (or viewing/sharing rude/inappropriate things), or c) too easily distracted by texts or games, then check your own patterns of behavior. Keep yourself in line before berating them.

2. Be Involved. If your child enjoys a particular app or game, have him/her explain it to you, show you how it works, and even scroll through or play together. If you are involved in his technology world, there will be fewer surprises. More importantly, if you are interested in his/her games or apps, then your child sees you as a partner and not a threat - so you will be more likely the person s/he turns to if something is amiss.

3. Constantly Revisit. Technology is changing more rapidly every day. Whatever rules or boundaries you have today will likely change within the next few years (or sooner). The technology itself will offer different features, as new programs, games, and apps become available every day, and each wants to be at the cutting-edge. Internet knowledge is becoming like Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle: there's too much movement, so by the time you "fully" understand one game/app/program, it's already been modified and upgraded with new features, layout, or content. With this in mind, it behooves us to do our best to stay as current as possible and revisit our assumptions and rules accordingly.

4. Teach Internet Safety. Some parents want to shelter their children from online dangers by limiting their access, restricting their use, and otherwise creating a buffer from potential pitfalls. But as they grow, our children will be one step (or many!) ahead of us in terms of tech-savvy. So the best way to handle internet safety is to invite him/her to understand why you want to keep safe. Have not one discussion, but many. Using age-appropriate language, address your concerns about the internet and why it's important to be mindful of online personas, usernames and passwords, links, and settings. Give your child concrete examples of email spam, stolen identities, bullying, pornography, and any other internet concerns.

5. Discuss Permanence and Online Citizenship. Texting and commenting in writing is permanent. Unlike interactions many of us had growing up, which were mostly face-to-face, today's internet conversations and photos can be referred to, re-read or reviewed permanently. A questionable or inappropriate photo or comment is not forgotten and can be shared across lines: not only will your peers know what's happened, now your teachers, employers, and strangers around the world have access to your mishaps. Our children need to learn how to pause before pressing-go - consider how the photo or message may be interpreted by others, including people we respect. Our online persona should be carefully considered with each text or photo, as we never know who will read or see it down the pike.

6. Carve out "offline" times - and stick to them! It's important to de-tox from all cravings, and technology is no exception. Whether it's specific times in the mornings, evenings, weekends, or holidays, families should set aside a time to de-tech. This no-tech time is a perfect opportunity to check in with each other, engaging in everything from deep conversations to playful banter. It's extremely important that these non-tech times be shared by all family members, including parents, teens, and children. This fosters a sense of togetherness, and life slows down without the constant pings and beeps.

7. Stay active. There's no better way to keep technology-addiction at bay than engaging in other, off-line activity. Whether enjoying painting, dancing, poetry readings or cross-country skiing, a person is, by definition, not texting or gaming when participating in these and many other "real life" activities. Sign up your child or teen for any number of after-school or weekend activities, with special focus on team sports or other group activities that will help develop his/her social skills offline. Better yet, volunteer for worthy organizations, spending valuable time helping others. Choose activities together to sweeten the deal. Bottom line: get moving, get involved, and get active.

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