The Digital World

One of my passions in e-commerce is working with small businesses and creating an online presence for them in todays digital world.

The owners of these businesses tend to be in their late 40’s and have young families who are growing up in a completely different world to the one which you and I grew up in.

The conversation tends to come around to parenting quite often and how their teenager spends far too much time playing online games, or their 3 year old is glued to watching Peppa Pig on YouTube. My clients soon find out that I myself am a mum and as such get asked how I handle these issues. With such a big area to cover between young kids and teens using the internet, I thought it best to break it into two posts. Let’s start with the younger ones first!

We held off as long as we could letting our 2 year old watch Peppa Pig on the tablet. However, little ones watch what Mummy and Daddy do and can’t help but be intrigued by what this magical screen has to offer. I’ve tried to break down the areas as much as possible to keep things simple;

Kids Copy You
Take note of how much time you spend on the tablet, phone or computer. If your child looks over and sees you on a device then they’re going to think this is normal and will want to get involved. Try to put your device in a separate room to the family room so you can get some quality time with your little one. They will enjoy your time so much more without you sitting looking at Facebook or checking work emails. Be a role model.

Time Keeping
Ensure your little one hasn’t got a three hour Peppa Pig video on youtube. It’ll be so much harder to take the tablet away if the show hasn’t finished. Try finding 2-10 minute videos so they aren’t sat their for hours staring at a screen. Set limits and allow a time period which they are allowed to use a device. For example, we only allow the tablet to be out in the morning so as not to disturb any naps, meal times, play or bedtime routine.

Do Your Homework
Check what your child can access on your device. Whether it’s inappropriate videos on youtube or work emails synced to your device. You wont want them getting nightmares after seeing a scary video and you wont want them accidentally sending a strange email to that boss who lacks a sense of humour.

Education
I was adamant that when I became a parent my child would in no way be watching TV or using the internet until they went to school. But today that’s just not as easy as it was when we were growing up. After speaking with some teacher friends and other parents, there’s actually some beneficial shows out there for little ones to learn from. For example, Mr Tumble. If you don’t know who Mr Tumble is then where have you been?! The show teaches children sign language whilst having fun. My little girl absolutely loves it! and the best thing is, she uses the sign language without even thinking about it. Kids TV channels have come such a long way. You can see how well thought out the shows, presenters and schedule of the shows are now. I have to give a mini mexican wave in honour of CBeebies who I personally think have nailed all of the above.

One thing I’d like to really put out there is, please don’t let your child go to bed with a tablet. Sitting and reading with your child at bedtime is such a precious moment. It may at times feel like it’s taking forever and all you want to do is go downstairs and tuck into dinner. But they will remember that you read to them, they will have an imagination, an interest in books and you will miss reading to them once they’ve grown out of it.

Read the next instalment where we tackle the Teens in this digital world!