I consider myself to be quite tech savvy.
I use and enjoy social media, understand the etiquette of posting on internet forums and can decipher most text-speak acronyms. I think the internet is a good thing, even for children, but I was born in 1970 and so am a ‘digital immigrant’.
My children, on the other hand, are digital natives and have never known a world without the web. They take apps, tablets and smartphones for granted in the same way that people born in the 70’s and 80’s did tape recorders, television and digital watches. We can only imagine what their children will consider normal.
There is no doubt in my mind that technology has a lot to offer today’s youngsters, but I’m also aware that the internet contains things unsuitable for children’s eyes and minds. Like most parents, I want my children to be able to experience the web appropriately, have fun and be educated while staying safe.
I’ve run the gauntlet of opinions when it comes to children’s access to technology. I’ve flipped from thinking that a child under the age of 13 simply doesn’t need internet access on their phone, to wondering if it’s all too much hard work and maybe we should just let them free range online and trust them to come to us if they encounter a problem, then back the other way again. I worry that my kids are spending too much time staring at screens but don’t know where and how to draw the line. It seems that everyone has an opinion on the best way to approach this issue and Jodi Gold is no exception.
Except that Jodi Gold, MD is not just anyone. She is a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist in private practice and Clinical Assistant Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, in New York City. And she’s written a book that will help you work out the best way to manage your child’s access to technology.
This is a book for the parents of all ages, from newborns to teens to almost grown ups. It’s full of sensible, practical advice and explains how to supervise your child’s digital footprint without stifling their online experiences. It is non judgmental, but explains the digital world our children live in, in a way that will leave you feeling relatively calm and in control of the situation.
I do wish I had read this book a few years ago, as my eldest two are now at secondary school and are well into their digital journeys. It’s more difficult to set down new rules for tweens and teens who have already had an element of internet freedom, than talk about boundaries and expectations to younger children who have yet to be unleashed on the world wide web.
Still it’s good to see that a lot of our house rules around technology are reflected in the pages of Screen-Smart Parenting. This is a book I will keep close and dip into often, and I would urge all parents to read it at least before their children start school. The earlier the better, really.
But even if your children are older and already set in their digital ways, this is a book that still has much to offer and will give you a frame work to help you guide your children develop the tech savvy they need to become good digital citizens.
I was sent a copy of ‘Screen-Smart Parenting: How to Find Balance and Benefit in Your Child’s Use of Social Media, Apps, and Digital Devices‘ to review but the opinions given above are wholly my own.