Just for a second, let’s pretend you want to build a new house: your dream house. Where do you start? Well, you need to come up with a plan: what will the design look like, how big will it be, what colors, how much money do we have, time frame, area to build, etc. And if you are realistic, you’ll plan for unforeseen circumstances: things taking longer than expected, the weather not cooperating, things breaking, etc. All in all, if you want to build your dream house, it starts with a realistic plan.
Similarly, this same concept applies to your digital kid. If you want to “build” a socially smart and safe kid online, then you, as the parent, need to come up with a plan (expecting “unforeseen circumstances” along the way). But it all starts with a realistic plan. So the questions to wrestle with are: Who do I want to build? What do I want to see happen or come about? Going beyond the obvious answers like “I want my kid to make good choices online, be safe, and have fun,” I think all parents can agree that they want to see the following built in their kid: Integrity, Honesty, Confidence, Respect, Compassion, etc.
In other words, deep down what you want to build in your digital kid is character. Isn’t this true? When you picture your “dream” kid, you don’t picture someone perfect…you picture someone with a good heart. So in regards to technology, how do you get there?
Here are a few questions to start thinking through to form a plan:
- Why does my kid have a phone? Or, why am I choosing to let my kid have a phone at age ___?
- How is this game, app, or phone helping my kid’s character? Or how could it help their character?
- When my kid messes up online or on their phone, what is their reaction? (Hiding, blaming, careless, etc.?)
- What is my kid learning through their technology use right now? What would I like for them to learn?
- What is the current amount of screen time producing in my kid? What’s the fruit of it?
- What are the reasons my kid wants/uses this app or phone? Anything other than fun? What are some tangible ways my kid can grow in their character through this app/device?
- What’s MY purpose in letting my kid use _____ app? (Fun, friends, to get them off my back, seems harmless, etc.?)
So again, the question is: when it comes to your kid and their digital life, what would you like to see
happen? What would be the dream scenario? Who do you want them to become in 5/10 years in regards to their digital usage?
Please remember, a dream house starts with a realistic plan; one that allows for mistakes along the way, but always has the end goal in mind …to build your dream house! Genuinely, who do you want your kid to become in regards to technology? Take a step toward making your plan today. Need more guidance? Consider joining the Be Socially Smart Community today!