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Parenting in the Digital Age: Are You in the Know?

digital citizens digital parenting Feb 03, 2018

Digital natives, digital immigrants, digital parenting, digital, digital, digital.

Just what does all of this stuff mean anyway?

Digital natives are children who are born in the digital age, this age of technology.  They are children who spend a few minutes holding a tablet and smartphone and feel no fear or trepidation in manipulating the technology.  They swipe, pinch, poke without always understanding what they are doing, but with the confidence that something is happening on the screen.  According to Marc Prensky, "our students today are all “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet."

Digital immigrants are people who were born before the advent of technology.  It is a phrase also coined by Prensky in 2001 used to describe the "generation of people who did not grow up in the digital age."  Again Prensky describes it perfectly by saying: "Those of us who were not born into the digital world but have, at some later point in our lives, become fascinated by and adopted many or most aspects of the new technology are, and always will be compared to them, digital immigrants."

But just because digital immigrants are not native to technology, does not mean that is a hopeless cause to perfect the subject matter.  Think of any immigrant to another country: the beginnings may be difficult, but with sufficient enthusiasm, motivation and dedication, an immigrant can get immersed in the new culture and thrive.

Enter digital parenting

Digital parenting is the notion of guiding digital immigrant parents in understanding what their digital native children are doing today. The only goal is to protect children, empower parents and keep the communication between both parties.

The following 6 points explain my view of digital parenting:

  • Digital Parenting is open communication with your child about Internet risks and benefits.
  • Digital Parenting is regular involvement in your child’s Internet activities.
  • Digital Parenting is active protection of your child’s digital reputation and digital identity.
  • Digital Parenting is learning with your child the opportunities that Internet can present.
  • Digital Parenting is protecting your child from the dangers that Internet may pose.
  • Digital Parenting is about bringing your offline parenting skills to the online world.

What do you think? As a digital parent, have you thought of skills that are necessary to the upbringing of your child? If yes, please share them with me. I am very interested in new viewpoints.

Also check out my parenting courses, targeted to the key age groups of children and easy-to-read parenting guides contain essential digital safety information for parents and caregivers.

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