There’s no denying it. The internet is fun. It’s nice getting tangled-up in dog memes, half-read news articles, celeb vlogs and the latest from our mates. It helps us stay in touch with loved ones far away. And we can do quick check-ins with our friends when we’re swept up in life’s whirlwind. It can even help us find a bit of parenting support. And there’s some comfort knowing our online mates are always there to give us tips, feedback, and love when we’re doing it tough.
All in all, the internet adds a lot of good stuff to our lives. Of course, it has its down sides. Our confidence in parenting can plummet when we see our mate’s snaps of their squeaky-clean, well-behaved kids who are breaking world records. And it’s easy to wonder if screen time is always healthy when we see the crazed look the kids get when their device is taken off them. And don’t forget the down-right dark side to the world wide web. You said it – stranger danger.
So how do we make sure our families are getting the good stuff out of the web and pushing back on the bad stuff? Well, it’s never too early or too late to chat about ways to stay safe and smart online. Doing screen time together as much as possibleis a great place to start. Talking kids through what’s appearing on the screen, and how to make good judgement in-action teaches them skills they can use as they grow more independent. From there, we keep checking in. Having regular chats about what’s going on in their online world and the tricks they can use to stay safe.
And we’ve talked about this before – kids want their parents to switch off more often, which can really add to the guilt when we’re craving nothing more than a lazy scroll through the ‘gram. We need to make an effort to be thoughtful around our own screen time. Not just for the kids, but for ourselves too. Small things – like saving life-updates for our friends until we meet face-to-face. And taking a moment to reflect on how we feel after ten minutes… or an hour of scrolling. These little efforts can nudge us towards feeling a bit more balanced, and a little bit less tangled-up in it.