Tragically, this post is not about my beloved Laura Ingalls, but about parenting in the digital age. We are the Pioneer Parents guys. Our parents had one (or maybe 3) tv sets to monitor and 7 channels. Oh, those were the simple days, those were the easy days . . . how do we parent with devices and electronics, and school provided i pads and laptops all filled with endless, endless content?
This is truly one of the most talked about topics in parenting classes these days and so let's circle the wagons and work together to both stay safe and explore this new, beautiful, scary and unknown terrain.
1. Model what you want to see. Anyone out there obsessed with e-mail checking, what about Facebooking or checking texts, just this once, just at this red light. PEOPLE, we can't expect our kids to do what we can't.
2. Set up, maintain and uphold firm bedtime limits on devices and put them to sleep either somewhere central, or your own bedroom. The sooner you set this up, the less grumbling kiddos have about this limit. The blue light devices should be turned off at least an hour before bed. If your kid tells you that EVERY OTHER KID gets their phone in their room, tell them to call me. I'll discuss it with them.
3. Get yourself educated.
Family Online Safety Institute "provides tips, tools and rules to confidently navigate the online world with your kids". They also are engaged in research and host conferences.
Common Sense Media "Dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. We empower parents, teachers and policy makers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids' lives."
Parent Encouragement Program offers classes and workshops on parenting and continues to add more and more classes, talks and workshops on how to parent in the digital age. Tonight (11.19.14) PEP is offering Smart Phones & the Connected Child
4. Circle the Wagons. Share information with other parents, work to set similar limits with the families on your block, in your neighborhood, at you schools. Keep talking to your kids and your partner. No one knows exactly what to do, no one knows where this all ends up, you do not have to have all the answers.
Stay safe out there guys. Go explore, check in, circle back to the known world, go back out again and let me know what you discover!