Raising kids in this modern age where technology is at the center can be so overwhelming. There is so much to do, so much to know and it all keeps changing at a rapid pace. I know, for a lot of parents, we have confusion, lack direction and feel like we're doing it all wrong. The truth is, though, that raising kids with technology doesn't have to be hard. It is actually far more simple than the world makes it out to be. What is it that makes raising kids with technology truly easy? Honestly it's being the role model you want your kids to follow. With technology this is being a Media Mentor.
Mentors are people who lead, guide and direct us not just with their words, but their actions too. They show us how to run faster, how to meal plan, what financial plans to learn and inspire us with their words and deeds. This is what a parent really is. A parent's job is to model good, adult behaviors for their children and teach them how to do it. A media mentor teaches parents and children how to use technology correctly, effectively and in a safe way. In today's tech centered world, our kids need this more than ever.
Media mentoring kids goes beyond what local libraries teach children about how to do correct internet searches. It involves showing kids how to do things we want them to do. Media Mentors also talk to kids about the shows they're watching, the music they hear, the pictures they see, and putting them into perspective for them.
A big part of media mentoring for young kids is helping them determine what is reality and what is a painted fantasy. Children, even teens and adults, do not always realize that what they see on TV, in pictures, or read online is 100% true. Learning to recognize, read, and process is a vital skill children will need as they grow older. It will help them now from falling into bad habits like pornography, cyberbullying and catfishing. In the future, it will help them recognize viruses, false advertisements and stay true to who they are.
Media mentors also have a responsibility to show children how to protect their technology. Teaching kids how to scan for viruses, type, manage passwords, and perform simple scans is a key part to making sure the technology lasts. It not only helps children learn how to use technology, but it can help them implement good practices that keep their information safe.
One key thing media mentors have to teach is Netiquette. Children are becoming more and more violent online due to the lack of education on manners online. These go beyond just the emails we send to our colleges. Netiquette extends to our social media accounts, messages, and how we handle hard people. Asking kids for permission to post their picture, reading to them a response before you send it, or even just removing a post that they asked you to is a vital part of teaching kids how to be kind online.
The main thing to keep in mind with Media Mentoring is to just model for your children the behaviors you want to see. If you want them to put their phones away when they talk to an adult, you have to do it. You want them to charge their phones in the charging station? Put your phone there first. The essential part of leading and directing kids comes from doing it yourself. This is why we love our role models, and how you can be that for your kids. Learn more tips and tricks on how to do this in Keeping Kids Safe Online.
Raising kids in a digital world doesn't have to be difficult. Learn the tools you need to enhance your power over technology so you can do what you do best: Be There For Them.