Guest blog by Amy Williams
A few years ago, our family was on vacation and I was driving in rush hour traffic, in construction, in an unfamiliar major city. Everyone was asleep, or so I thought. So I focused on my driving, but during a tight lane change, I uttered a choice phrase out of frustration. Within seconds, I heard a small echo from the backseat. In that moment, I had taught my child how to swear. For the remainder of the trip, my child ran around proclaiming that beautiful four letter word to anyone who would listen.
It’s no secret that our little ones are like sponges, learning from the world and people around them. We are their first teachers, leading by examples, interactions, and even the occasional traffic jams. Most of us strive to teach our sons and daughters their ABC’s, how to count and tie their shoes. As they age, we broaden our subjects and help them learn the social skills needed to thrive as adults.
A Parent’s Role in Learning
While raising our children, we go to great lengths to encourage learning and life experiences. We register our sons and daughters for story hours, summer camps, rec programs, and first-rate schools. After all, we want the best for our kids and will do everything possible to make this a reality. Unfortunately, we often overlook the role we play in this process.
From the time our kids are born, they are watching us. Yes, watching us. They learn by imitating us and copy our manners, phrases, and behaviours. Unfortunately, along with the good, they also pick up the bad. In the past, this might have meant a bad word or questionable body language. However, in today’s tech-driven world we are frequently modelling inappropriate relationships with our devices.
A Good Combination? Parents and Devices
Researchers are starting to uncover that our own technology use is affecting kids in some surprising ways. Our kids are watching us take that work call at dinner or answer an email during game night. They see us scrolling social media, sharing their photos, and making comments about other people. This often finds children feeling neglected, or less important than their parents’ technology.
Thankfully, there is also good news when it comes to our technology. We can lead by example and instill positive values in our children to develop healthy relationships with technology. We have the power to set our kids up for success by beginning conversations about social media etiquette and modelling appropriate device usage.
For more information on the how parents can influence a kid’s media use, please read the following infographic brought to you by the creative minds at TeenSafe:
Amy Williams is a journalist and concerned parent who loves spreading the word on digital safety.