When you are stuck in a home lockdown like we are now because of a pandemic or for any reason for a long duration, things get complicated. Not only are you communicating less, but you are also moving out less. After working from home for a couple of days, I do realize that it’s not easy for anyone unless you had been doing it for years. You are stuck in one house, and it gets boring. In this post, I am sharing some good Digital Parenting Tips and Challenges to be overcome when you are working from home.
While the Digital world is fascinating, but most of us saw it growing, unlike our kids for whom it’s just another tool. You can relate this to TV, which we took as part of our daily life because it was there. However, when it comes to the Internet, we saw it blooming.
How we interpreted TV, the same way, our Kids understand the Internet. It’s there, always-on, always accessible, and thanks to smartphones, smart TVs, and computers. Then comes the dark side. Just like how our parents kept an eye on what we were watching on TV, the same, we need to do it for our kids, but smartly.
We will talk about the following under Digital Parenting-
- Educate Kids about the Internet
- Digital Parenting Apps
- Digital Classroom
- Set House Rule for Digital access
Challenges to be overcome Work from Home
Working from home doesn’t mean you can work at will. Just like how you would have followed a schedule for office, you need one here too. Without these, it is easy to lose a sense of time, and you will end up working more, less time with family.
We will talk about the following:
- Strict Schedule & Time
- Regular Evaluation
- Breaking Social Isolation.
Tips for Good Digital Parenting
I have a son who is eleven years old, and he sees me on the Internet every day. The story is the same for all of us, and believe it or not, they are noticing, and parents are failing to see that. So here my some tips from y personal experience which you can try with your modifications.
1] Educate Kids about the Internet
Kids see the Internet as games, video calls, messages, websites, in short, it’s an entertainment system for them. While we do know the dark side, they don’t, and we must talk to them about it.
No, I am not talking about lecturing them, but educating them. Tell kids how things could go wrong if they are not careful when browsing the Internet, how important it is to find a balance between the Internet and studies and spending time with families. They are smart, and most of us are more intelligent than us because they see the world with a different perception.
So the idea is to talk to them, educate them, and that’s something you will have to do in a way your kid can understand and relate better. Even better, use the computer with them, show them the good things they can find on the Internet, and then let them walk the path.
2] Digital Parenting Apps
Until the kid reaches an age where they can be free to decide, you can use the digital software to keep track of what they can access and what they cannot. It’s important. While do not restrict them to use the Internet, but restrict how long they can use, what they can download, and which websites they can go.
There are three tools you can use—Microsoft Family Safety (Windows 10 PC), Apple’s macOS Parental Control, and Google’s Family Link (Android).
Microsoft Family Safety
You can read out the detailed guide on Family Safety for Windows 10 and Xbox. Here are some key features
- Schedule when they can access the device
- Types of apps they can download based on their age
- Weekly activity report
- Block websites
- Request for permission available over email or in-person
Apple’s macOS Parental Control
While I haven’t used it personally, here is the list of features available.
- Disable Camera and multiplayer games in Game Center.
- Specify which apps can be used, including iTunes, Apple Books, or apply age-appropriate ratings.
- Limit access to websites
- Time limits for weekdays, weekends, and bedtime.
- Privacy features to make sure the Child’s data is safe
More control options include Siri, Dictation, and Printer access.
Google’s Family Link (Android)
- Setup timing when the device is accessible (daily limits and bedtime schedule)
- Location tracking
- Micromanage app timings and total usage
- Website restrictions
- Request for permission available via App
- Control on Google Play, Chrome, YouTube, and Google Search.
3] Digital Classroom
Many schools are turning to online education through videos, Zoom sessions, and even messenger apps like WhatsApp. It would be a good idea to use applications like Google Classroom, which can help you and your kid to organize everything in one place.
The application is available on the phone, tablet, and browser. I had to set up this for my son because there was too much chaos, and assignments were scattered. Google Classroom helped me to categorize into subjects, files uploaded to Google Drive, and it was all linked.
Students can submit their assignment, mark them complete, and you get notified about it.
I am sure there are many services like this, and if you do not like Google Classroom, its best to try others to see what works for you.
4] Set House Rule for Digital access
It’s going to the toughest part because you need to be part of it. I talked about finding the balance, and unless you do, the kids will not.
Setup timings on when it’s ok to access the Internet, and when its important to spend time with the family. Extended lunch and dinner is a good idea, and playing board games is even better. Enjoy a movie with the family or talk about old times. The kids can equally participate. They can talk about their friends and thoughts. All this will bring a balance.
Challenges to be overcome Work from Home
1] Strict Schedule & Time
It’s essential that you follow a strict routine, and trust me, you have ample time if you do it. The most significant time you save working from home is commute time. That time can be used with family, but it can also lead to a lot of work.
Not only you need to follow a strict schedule for work, but you also need to involve the family in it. You being at home, and if they are not used, it might make them feel you are available throughout the day. Sit and plan when you want to work, and when you plan to take a break. You might have to adjust your work schedule based on family timing and not the other way round.
Take regular breaks, ask everyone to join it, and it will help you to work efficiently, and also spend time with family. You also need to decide when you need to stop working. If you think you can work for ten more minutes because all it will take a minute to get to the family can be catastrophic.
2] Regular Evaluation
Every day evaluate your last day work. Think if you need to work on the schedule because work is essential, and if you are failing to do that, WFH will become leisure at home. The COVID-19 lockdown could extend, so make this a habit, and evolve.
3] Breaking the Social Isolation
It can be mentally devastating since you are not meeting a lot of people. It’s essential, after all, that is the essence of life. Try to get on video calls, exchange some light moments with your friends at work, and family. It will keep you sane for a longer duration. Apps like Zoom, WhatsApp Video calls are free and more than enough to break the social isolation barrier.
There can be a lot written about Digital Parenting at Home and WFH challenges, but these tips should be enough to get you started. Every experience and setup is going to be different; all you need is to evaluate and make choices to see what works for your family and work.