Bringing up baby in the 21st Century isn’t as simple as it used to be. With apps, connected technology, tablets, social media and the virtual world at our fingertips, there are new considerations needed for privacy and for fun. However, you can follow some simple tips for using technology to enhance your family life rather than letting it overwhelm you.
Safely Build Your Child’s Digital Footprint:
A rising trend among parents is to claim your child’s email address and domain name when they are born. While this may seem premature and unnecessary, it can actually be a great way to control what data can and will be collected about your child as they grow up. Having a domain name ensures that they will have a website in their name if they should choose to create a business or personal site later in life, and also allows you to privately store photos and personal documents, which you can password protect. It’s important to remember that you are the initial guardian of your child’s privacy, and you’ll be laying the foundation for how they will share online as they grow up.
There is nothing a new parent enjoys more than sharing photos of their baby. But, it’s important to review your privacy settings on all of the social media accounts on which you share photos, and set them to friends only. You may also want to turn off any geolocation settings on your mobile phone and apps so that photos aren’t automatically tagged with locales. If you want to share pictures only with family, it’s easy to set up a private share site on any major photography storage sites. These can be password protected to make sure strangers don’t access your child’s photos.
One of the biggest dilemmas facing modern parents is the struggle over screen time. However, not all screen time is equal. Real life interaction with your baby is best, but you can use screen time as a learning experience as well. If you give your child a tablet or phone to watch, use the time to play interactively with simple apps that feature numbers, letters, shapes and colors. Point out and engage with what is happening on the screen and relate it back to the physical world rather than using the tablet as a pacifier. Make sure to activate parental controls on all devices and limit screen time. And remember not to use screens within 2 hours of bedtime since research has shown that the blue light disrupts the sleep cycle.
Connect With Family:
Technology has enabled families to stay in touch in new and wonderful ways. Grandparents can easily use video chatting to interact with their grandchildren no matter how far they may live from one another. Having regular video chats with family and friends can let everyone join in on the joys of your growing baby, and create lasting bonds. Set up a recurring date that everyone will look forward to.
Technology should enhance your parenting experience and enrich your family’s life – not make it more distracted. Remember that you are not only making choices for your baby now, but also being a role model for how your child will ultimately balance the physical and virtual world as they grow older.