There is a common saying that goes, “there is nothing new under the sun.” For a long time, that has rung true, with most parents relying heavily on the teachings, traditions, and wisdom of the ages for bringing up their children. It has served them well over the millennia, since challenges that parents face have basically remained the same throughout.
All hell broke loose for parents when technology came into the mix.
It would seem old Heraclitus was right all along. “Life is flux.” In short, the only thing that is constant is change. With 53% of American children owning a phone before age 11, technology has thrown a generational curveball, with parents unable to fall back on old teachings to navigate this new pitfall. That is the gap the new book “Becoming a Digital Parent: A Practical Guide to Help Families Navigate Technology” hopes to fill.
Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, the author of the book and founder of Digital Respons-Ability, says that keeping kids safe while online is not just about telling them what they should not do on the internet. A parent must explain why the child should not engage in certain behaviors to enhance their digital literacy. Kids need to learn where the boundaries are and say no when they come close to overstepping them since adults will not always be there.
The spirit of these sentiments carries on to the soul of the book. She starts by highlighting the changes in technology trends over the years, which underline the stark difference between parenting then and now.
By the third chapter, she gets to the meat of the book, discussing at length how parents can manage tech around their young children. The theme carries on to chapters four and five that talk about parenting teens tech and their digital identities.
She dedicates the entirety of chapter eight to discussing a whole genre of technology that has exploded recently – gaming.
The author does not shy away from discussing sticky issues like creating a family technology plan, communicating with children, and sex trafficking awareness. It all dovetails to the 3M’s of digital parenting: model, manage, and monitor. The model will help parents know exactly when and how to use each piece of technology, what they need to do, and the levels of boundaries that need setting.
Despite all the things said about technology, the book ends by highlighting how this is a man and fire situation: fire is a great servant, but a poor master. She has highlighted several resources and apps that can help parents along every developmental stage.
Parenting has never been easy; any bit of help is always appreciated, especially in these fast-evolving technological times. Becoming a Digital Parent is one giant leap in the great parenting direction.