Technology is a vital part of a child's life, and if you try to keep your kids from social media, the Internet and technology, you'll find that their interest just increases. If you tell a child that they "can't do something," they'll want to do it even more.
It's a difficult part of being a parent.
But if you teach your child about technology and social media, you'll be able to keep your kids safer. Technology is the pathway to many careers, too, so it's a good idea to expose them to new technology, websites and social media platforms rather than trying to hide your kids away.
Expose Your Kids to Technology
Kids are going to use social media and new technologies whether you like it or not, but through exposure, you can teach your kids a lot. I introduced my child to YouTube and Instagram, and I am happy I did.
YouTube is used for entertainment by a lot of people, but there's a world of education, too.
I positioned YouTube as a great way for my kids to learn Spanish, brush up on their math skills and find interesting videos on history. Sure, there are also funny channels and video game reviewers to watch, but positioning YouTube as a place for learning resulted in:
- My kids using YouTube to learn
- Better grades
Instagram is tricky because it has been named the worst app for young people's mental health. Teens are going to use the app to show off what they're doing and their "exciting" lives. Younger kids will want to follow their idols.
The Rock is a fan favorite in my household, but The Rock also has a lot of motivational posts which I encourage my kids to view.
When trying to introduce my kids to Instagram, I did a few things:
- Explained that Instagram models and socialites are not the real world. I even showed my teen posts from Instagram models that show "reality" and "Instagram." It's important to teach your kids that Instagram isn't the real world. The world isn't always picture perfect.
- Encouraged my kids to follow their idols and inspirational people on Instagram.
- Explained that there's more to Instagram than simply looking at pictures and videos. I taught my kids how to comment on posts and really enter conversations.
I am more comfortable with YouTube than Instagram, but that may be because YouTube has a wealth of parental controls available to block certain content.
You may be able to keep younger kids away from social media, but teens are very difficult to keep off of social networks.
And with new technology, there's always room to teach kids something new. When I brought my child to work, I explained how to monitor water losses using the latest technology. When I installed Sono speakers in my home (they allow you to stream music from any device to any room in the home), I had my child help me install the speakers.
I also used this time to teach my kids about speakers, sound quality and how apps connect to the speakers to stream music.
Through exposure, I am able to teach my kids new skills and hopefully keep them safer on social media.