A digital immigrant is someone who was born before access to the Internet was widespread.
Your child, or anyone born after 1985, is considered a ‘digital native’: someone who grew up with close contact to computers, smartphones and other Internet-enabled devices.
However, being a digital immigrant shouldn’t be a barrier to being a tech-savvy parent or carer. Here are a few ways you can show that you know your stuff too!
1. Keep up to date with popular apps
In the ever-changing world of social media, it’s okay to wonder what your child is talking about when they mention a certain app they seem interested. Weren’t they obsessed with a different app just a few months ago?
If you’re struggling to keep up with the latest app of choice for children and young people, don’t be afraid to learn. Take note of the sites and platforms your child uses and find out more about them.
Better still, create an account on the platforms your child uses. This can be an even better way of familiarising yourself with how they work, what the potential risks are and how you can make your child’s experience safer.
Ready to get started? Check out our parent’s/carer’s guides to the most popular social media platforms.
2. Think critically about your own online activity
Setting a great example to your child is a key component of being a tech-savvy parent. Consider your own online behaviour and ask yourself some of the following questions:
- Am I ‘sharenting’ or overusing social media to share information about my child?
- Do I behave respectfully when communicating with others online?
- Am I easily distracted by texts and notifications?
- Am I being careful about my own privacy online?
- Do I also abide by the rules and guidance I give my child about staying safe online?
Showing your child that you take online safety seriously too will help to convince them that.
3. Show an interest in your child’s online activity
Set aside some time to talk to your child about what they do online. Keep these chats conversational – they shouldn’t always be about setting rules, but also a chance to learn more about your child’s interests and habits.
For example, try asking them about the online games they play and why they like them. If you don’t understand something, ask them to explain it or show it to you.
You should also demonstrate what you know about the online world during these chats, especially when it comes to being safe while using the Internet.
4. Learn how to set up parental controls
Familiarise yourself with the devices and apps your child uses, and ensure parental controls are set up on all of them.
These tools can help to block explicit content, set screen time limits and restrict your child from downloading certain apps.
Setting up these controls and learning how they work can boost your confidence when you advise your child on using the Internet safely.
5. Find family-friendly online activities
The online world doesn’t always pose a risk to the bond you have with your child. Find games, podcasts, movies and lessons you can enjoy together.
From watching baking videos to creating digital art, online activities can be fun, engaging and educational for both adults and kids.