My eldest once asked me if I was from the ‘olden days’. Cheers, matey.
I guess he thinks I’m prehistoric because I told him I didn’t use computers at school and in fact the Internet didn’t even exist back then!
Like most Gen X parents, I’m fascinated by how my kids are adapting to the digital age.
They’re growing up in a world where apps and Wii and Google Earth are the norm and it’s almost scary how quickly they pick up the latest tech tricks. My 3-year-old is about this close to cracking my iTunes password… and then it’s game over for mama!
As a new media mum, I’m cool with bringing up geeks although I do set limits on when and how they use technology. We save video games for the weekend and Jed’s not allowed near my laptop by himself.
Almost 7, Ezra can go online alone for brief periods, but only if he sticks to sites I trust like CBBC (‘I’m too big for CBeebies’, he insists) or one of our favourite learning apps The Land of Me.
One issue that does concern me is Internet safety for kids and how we can protect our little ones from potential dangers like adult content or cyber bullying. There’s only so much looking over their shoulders you can do before you get cramp!
That’s why I was eager to hear more about the Vodafone Parents’ Guide, a handy series of how-to guides and expert views to help parents navigate this sometimes murky territory.
Check out their Digital Parenting web site for step-by-step guides on everything from using your particular browser’s safety and privacy features to setting up the new Blackberry Parental Controls.
There are articles by industry bods ranging from teachers to psychiatrists as well as instructions on how to report any issues you or your children have online to popular service providers (e.g. Facebook, Google and Xbox) and relevant authorities (such as CEOP, the IWF and ParentPort).
Thankfully my boys are too young to use social networks (I can only imagine the kind of stuff they’d Tweet). But the mere fact that I blog about my kids means I should make more effort to educate myself about protecting them online.
The Digital Parenting site also has loads of useful tips about mobile apps that should especially appeal to mums like me, whose toddlers and pre-schoolers won’t keep their sticky paws off our smartphones and tablets.
I’m pretty vigilant with the apps I download for the kids as I’ve found that some of the free apps have ads that contain inappropriate messages for younger eyes.
Ultimately, my number one tip for raising teeny tech heads is basic common sense: never leave the little darlings entirely to their own devices. Or rather, your devices.