Parents are the best role models for their children, more so in the online world. How we behave in the digital space determines how they will too.
I have always been a reader. When young, I read books voraciously. I remember finishing most books within four days and then would hungrily look forward to reading another one. I inculcated these habits looking at my two elder sisters who would go to bed with a book always. That has shaped my thinking. This is something I am trying to teach my girl too. Her growing interest in books encourages me to read to her and talk to her more about books, even at mealtimes. Yet, I wonder when she grows up to understand and make her own choice about her daily life, what will she choose-books or the iPad that her father takes to bed, working away on his office reports and playing online games in between.
It is going to be a tough decision for the kids to make, to go for the book or the iPad for the latter of course is more attractive a choice since it is a visual medium. These days, every smartphone is connected to the net, giving them an opportunity to be out there on their own. But then, it is equally our responsibility too to give them the correct picture. More so, it all boils down to the parents alone. Since the kids are spending more time with their parents, they watch their every move. Remember how they snap at you when you try to put boundaries for them…like ‘Mom you always come home late from work, so big deal if I too got late from school!’. Is there something that we can do about it, instead of sighing alone?
Apparently we can! By setting an example that we would like them to follow. Here are some guidelines that we can follow ourselves and hope our kids will follow suit.
- Cut down your screen time to a minimum
- Allow yourself screen time when it is not the family time
- Cut short your conversations on the phone to the essentials
- Pay complete attention when your child is talking to you and refrain from checking phone again and again while the conversation is on
- In a social gathering or at dinner time, answer the phone only when it is absolutely necessary
- Take a book to bed or simply talk, instead of watching TV or taking an electronic device to bed (believe me, I am trying to make this a reality in my home too)
- Get a hobby, preferably an outdoor one, so that kids also learn to unwind and relax, away from studies and gadgets. Some kind of team sport or just about anything that can get them to go out of the home
These are some really simple measures, but then they are easier said than done. We parents are too technologically wired to break our habits. At the same time, our kids are armed with a smartphone. They are hungry to know more and scout more out of this ocean of knowledge called internet. As a first time parent living in a highly digitalised world, I am trying my hardest to stick to these guidelines so as to offer my child the right role model.
About the author
Having worked with some of the leading names in the publishing industry, Anu is now an independent editorial consultant. After working for over 11 years, she is now working from home to be able to look after her little girl. When she is not writing (her first love), she is happy cooking, reading and learning nursery rhymes, a new one everyday to keep her toddler entertained and of course taking family vacations