#makeITsafePH My Top 5 Tips for Parenting in the Digital Age

I’m a mom of two beautiful girl—Bella, 7 and Cheska, 3—and I initially wanted to talk about how they don’t have their own smartphones (unlike most, if not all of their agemates and schoolmates) and yet manage to stay okay and happy. I didn’t however want to portray myself as that goody-two-shoes mom who’s all perfect and nice and knows exactly what to do every time.

Even in today’s world where new parents are utterly more confused as their parents and grandparents were when they reached that big milestone of a lifetime known as parenthood.Instead, I’ll be sharing my favorite tips on parenting in this age where kids find it an unforgivable sin when parents don’t give them the latest in smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices that turn them into zombies of the twenty-first century.

Globe Telecom takes it upon itself to ensure that the society as a whole remains safe from numerous threats facing everyone using the internet. This concern gave birth to the #makeITsafePH campaign under its CyberPinoy cyber wellness program. The program aims to to educate consumers on the proper online etiquette and make them aware of the increasing statistics on online threats and how they can stay away from becoming a source of such deplorable behavior or avoid becoming a victim.
If you’re reading this and find it interesting, it may be because one or two of your kids belong to the iGen or Gen Z or the Post-Millennial generation, which includes the little humans between ages 6 and 23. Not only is this generation the most diverse in the history of mankind, they are the most smartphone-addicted and digitally connected generation.

The Post-Millennial generation will have no memories of the pre-Internet times as they were born after 1995, which marked the commercialization of the Internet. They have most likely entered or will reach adolescence in the Smartphone Age. And as parents to these vulnerable little versions of us, the modern times and all the high-tech changes that come with it obviously have us facing a long list of parenting challenges. And I am happy to share my own little black book of tips on how to go about the parenting maze in today’s world that we call digital.

  1. Delay introduction of social media and smartphones to your kids for as long as you possibly can. My 8-year old daughter still has no Facebook account.  I told her that I only have FB because of my work (I work as an eCommerce VA and Socia Media Specialist) and that I can’t find a need for them to have it. Until now she hasn’t asked my permission to have one yet. But she loves to read and write so I gave her permission to create and maintain a blog site and that’s it. And as a rule in the house, they will only get their own smartphone when they are old enough to be able to afford buying one for themselves. I have not heard them complain about it.
  2. Wi-Fi, like TV use, is for Fridays and Saturdays only. I bought the kids one tablet that they have to share during weekends and weekends only. The girls are fond of reading, they use the tablet only to read their favorite e-books or watch the latest episodes of their Japanese anime series. The two of them love to read and are more excited getting additions to their mini library than reaching new levels on the latest video games or watching what's latest from their favorite YouTube stars.
  3.  Take parenting on a very personal level. Because the kids don’t have smartphones, we actually get to talk to each other a lot. We eat meals together and talk at the table. I help them with their take-home assignments and talk about how their day was in school. We hear mass every Sunday and we talk about their plans for the new week. We love movie marathons and talk about our favorite movie characters. I tuck them in bed at night and we pray together. We hug and kiss and say “I love you” to each other a lot in the house. We don’t text or do video calls or send messages with those cute emojis or funny effects on Messenger or Viber or WhatsApp.
  4. Teach and show them the real essence of life and living. This one shouldn’t be so hard if we ourselves actually know how it’s done. Teach your kids that they are beautiful and perfect and special and no less human than those who have the latest digital gadgets or have the cutest profile pics in their social media accounts. Let them understand the value of integrity, honesty, dignity, respect, and empathy so they may learn to love themselves as they are and be contented and happy with what they have.
  5. Make time for your kids. Actually make time for them no matter how much work consumes most of your wakeful hours. A few minutes of talking to them and understanding their feelings every single day makes a lot of difference in their lives. Of course, show them that you yourself are not addicted to your mobile phones or are always on Facebook worrying about your next coolest status update. Show them that we do not need any approval from any social media or online platform to define ourselves. That what we are or what we become should not be dictated by anybody or anything for that matter. Our attitude, character, relationships, values, and principles do. So they better be founded on the right and proper ones.

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