Technology – how to let your kids use it, when and how much, what boundaries to set – is one of the biggest parenting challenges of the modern world. It can be intimidating, and it can definitely make us take stock of our own online habits.
Most of us feel that, as our kids grow, it’s important to walk a tightrope of giving them the online skills they’ll need in a modern marketplace and making sure they don’t become dependent zombies in the process.
If you’re just stepping onto that playing field with a teenager yourself, Melissa Griffin, mother and HR director who hires young, entry-level employees, is here to tell you what phone and internet skills you should be encouraging your kid to develop.
First off, she urges parents to be more aware about why they’re handing technology to their kids.
“A lot of parents claim they give their kids devices so they can develop and keep their technology skills sharp.
If we are not intentional about directing HOW they use this technology, they are likely to leave our homes with virtually ZERO actual marketable computer skills.”
Griffin suggests giving your kids more responsibility in the tasks involved in running a home – buying groceries, making appointments, researching Airbnb places for your next vacation, even paying bills – so that they can develop the skills necessary to also navigate the big, bad world when they fly the coop.
She was inspired to make this post because of all the parents she knows who have regrets about how they handled – or mishandled – technology while their kids were growing up.
“I’m a member of many parenting groups where I notice parents are giving their kids smartphones and laptops earlier and earlier.
It’s often not long before these same parents are in the group lamenting that they’ve basically lost their kids to these devices…I wanted to offer some practical ways for parents to use these devices to connect with their kids.”
You can’t keep your kids off devices forever, and honestly, you would be doing them a disservice if you did. But if you’re intentional about how and when you hand them over – and expect them to use their phones, tablets, and computers to contribute to the family (and learn to be self-sufficient), then at least you won’t feel quite so terrible about how much time they spend on them.
And you know, the less time they have to waste on Snapchat and TikTok, the better.