Making the choice to become a parent is also like making the choice to continually make hard choices for the next 18 years. Parenting brings with it joy and fear. Fear of making the wrong choices when it comes to diapers, food, parenting styles, and many others. In the world today, there is also a fear of choosing the wrong way to monitor a child’s time in the digital world, and, because this is uncharted territory for an elder to offer advice, parents of today are paving the way for generations down the road to better know how to manipulate connecting with and monitoring their children in a digital driven world.
The first thing to know is that there is no wrong or right choice when deciding the best path for you and your family. Everyone will make decisions that suit their family best, and if a friend takes a different approach than you, then that is okay. Focus on what you and your family need, and it will be the right decision in the end.
The next item of business is communication. Amy Howell, Ph.D., contributed an article to the Psychology Today website entitled, “Connecting with Your Children Authentically in a Wired World”, in which she mentions the importance of family communication and consensus when it comes to media time. She recommends holding a family meeting where everyone gets the chance to talk about their feelings on digital platforms like social media and the role these platforms play in their lives. By talking about why time spent on phones and online is meaningful to everyone, it is more clear how to monitor the time spent in these spaces and time spent together unplugged. It is all about balance.
After communicating as a family and taking everyone’s stance into account, visit healthychildren.org to create a Family Media Plan. Fill in your family’s information, and a plan is generated to your needs and wants. They also include a Media Time Calculator and offer the entire questionnaire in Spanish. To access the site, click https://www.healthychildren.org/English/media/Pages/default.aspx#home
By communicating and using resources available, it is possible to create a customized media plan for your family. A plan that will allow everyone time in their own spaces and ample time together. After all, the choice to become a parent in the first place comes from a place of joy. Children are born into families who need and want them. Enjoy your child or children and take the time to connect with them.