As a digital mom, I know it sounds weird but I’ve been reticent to get my kids online. After all, I KNOW what’s out there!
According to Vanessa Van Petten, founder of RadicalParenting.com and author of Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded, the key is taking baby steps.
She calls the internet the new playground, meaning that some of the things kids are learning online are who they are in the world and how to navigate interpersonal relationships. When a parents won’t let them on the internet, it’s like saying, “There’s a bully on the playground. You can’t go out to recess!!!”
It sounds unrealistic when she put it that way but it makes sense. I haven’t taken this extreme measure of banning my kid from recess or from school because of a bully because I know that it makes my child the victim. She’s the one who loses out on the experience of school or recess, not the bully.
Vanessa points out that growing up online is much the same. She says it’s important for kids to grow and develop with the internet — learning appropriate responses to difference situations from a young age, with their peers and with parental guidance.
After all, our kids will inevitably end up online. If we don’t allow them the gradual learning, it’s the equivalent of dumping them at the mall for the first time ever when they are sixteen. Yikes!
When Vanessa and I talked, she shared some tangible, practical steps on introducing our kids to the digital playground. So have at it, Digital Moms! Be safe, have fun, and don’t take candy from strangers! :O
video credit: My Mommy Manual
photo credit: stock x.chng