From how we buy groceries to the way we teach our kids to the ways we bond as a family, technology is now a huge part of our day-to-day lives—and our kids’ lives. Navigating the digital playground can be confusing for parents anytime, but it’s been especially complicated over the past year. According to a study done by Google, 2 in 5 parents do not feel confident to have The Tech Talk with their kids discussing topics like online safety and wellbeing, screen time, discovering quality content and more.
The online world can be an intimidating place for parents, but it can also bring families closer together. The same study by Google also found that 42% of families discovered new passions and activities online and that 25% of families surveyed grew closer to family and friends through video calls. The keys to using tech as a positive tool in your family: building healthy habits and teaching your kids how to stay safe online. Here are some tips for improving your family’s digital wellbeing from our friends at Google.
Make the Conversation Engaging
Kids (and adults) are drawn to technology that keeps us engaged, whether that's entertaining us, teaching us something or helping us connect with others. Google Families has tons of tips to help parents have a family tech talk that'll resonate with their kids, including tips on talking to kids about their interests to find the best apps and games for them, teaching kids about healthy screentime by showing them the tools you can use to monitor their tech usage and much more. To help kids navigate online safety, Google also created a free online game that is both fun and informative. Interland lets your child control a character that explores the different lands that teach them how to Be Internet Awesome. As they explore places like Mindful Mountain, they'll learn about sharing with care and being kind online.
Make It Age-Appropriate
If your child is too young to have social media accounts, talking to them about being intentional in what they post may not resonate with them just yet. Start the conversation by asking your child how they feel about technology: What do they think of using computers for learning? What apps or websites do their friends talk about? Have they seen people post unkind things online, and what do they think about them? Asking open-ended questions will help you lead the conversation in a way that resonates with them and their current interests. Once you’ve figured out what to talk about, families.google has loads of resources to figure out how to talk about these topics.
Make It About Balance
Between school, work, connecting with others and entertainment, some tech time is inevitable. What’s important is to make sure we’re creating a healthy relationship with our technology and balancing online and offline activities. According to a survey done by Google, 3 in 5 parents allowed increased screen time for kids over the last year. Each family’s balance with technology will look different, and families.google has helpful tools to help you decide what works best for your family! To get started, check out Google's digital wellbeing guide or practice finding balance with the new Headspace Breathers series for families.