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Parent Perspective: My Digital Parenting Journey

digital parenting Feb 03, 2018

AUTHOR: Joanne Cammish

As a parent of two children under four, I am on a journey.

A journey to learn all that I can about digital parenting so that I can provide my children with the best that the digital world has to offer while avoiding the scary stuff. If you’re the parent of a young child and feeling overwhelmed, join me on my digital parenting journey, one step at a time.

STEP ONE: Talk to children and young people to understand their world, their perspective.

So I had a chat with my nephew and nieces about their internet use – yes, they still enjoy speaking to me! It was like they were speaking in a special digital language that I wasn’t privy to. They were telling me about the apps they like to use and I managed to glean the odd familiar sound like Minecraft but here ends the extent of my cool recognition.

They mentioned videos on YouTube by CutiePieMarzia. Not to be confused with her boyfriend PewDiePie. They live together so there’s a slight crossover of content in the shape of their jointly owned pugs. It took me about five minutes to pronounce both names from my retro starting point of…Tweety Pie. For those of you too young enough to know what I’m referring to, Tweety Pie was a cute bird from the cartoon Tom and Jerry.

My youngest niece explained that CutiePieMarzia (CPM) shares videos of her two pugs Maya and Edgar dressing up and doing dog/pet things whereas PewDiePie (PDP) as the name kind of suggests, likes to share his commentaries and reactions whilst playing horror video games. Oh and he also features their pugs on his videos.

STEP TWO: Do a little investigation on your own to determine if there are any risks.

Having since investigated both vlogs, PDP actually chats about horror games and whilst the pugs are cute, they appear to be a definite side character to the horror games and littered with swearing. Hmmm. From what I could see, the pug love is minimal. I can only guess they ignore the actual purpose of the PDP vlog as they were both completely animated telling me about the pugs, particularly how cute Maya and Edgar are from CPM.

I won’t go into any further detail of the rest of their current obsessions but needless to say, they were way ahead of me. My middle niece was happy to reassure me that one of the apps she uses does have a chat feature but she doesn’t engage with it as she doesn’t know who they are. Instead she simply likes or dislikes the digital pictures that are created. Sorted.

STEP THREE: Evaluate how your family uses screens and devices.

My eldest uses a touchscreen computer at nursery but still calls our huge calculator her iPad. We can get away with this for now as we don’t own an iPad. She is of course competent when scrolling through our smartphones to use apps or to click pause and play whilst glued to YouTube when one of us is in the shower. All use is supervised use so I’ve a little leeway until I need to be more digital savvy. I like to imagine that if I start to gen up now, when the day arrives that I need to be keep up the pace with my eldest, I will be more digitally street-wise and less digital dinosaur?

STEP FOUR: Stay aware of the issues without freaking yourself out.

Depending on what country you live in, there are Internet safety awareness centers, helplines and hotlines to educate you. If this seems like too much, then check out some of the pillars in child protection such as Common Sense Media, Parenting in the Digital Age, Family Online Safety Institute, The Parent Zone or Internet Matters.

And if all of that makes your head spin, then just sign-up for the Digital Parenting Coach newsletter where you will receive informative, bite-size newsletters on age appropriate topics to empower you in the digital age.


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