Parenting in the Digital Age: Communication Is Key

By Tracey Dowdy

If you were to do a social experiment and gather a group of parents in a room, even if they share similar values or lifestyles, there’s a good chance you’ll find differences of opinion when it comes to the rules surrounding technology. That means even if you maintain a reasonable amount of control over your child’s media use at home, sooner or later your digital rules are going to collide with another parent’s.

This isn’t just a debate over the ratings of TV shows or video games. Smartphones have bypassed all that and put the Internet with all its temptations in a SpongeBob backpack.

A survey by Influence Central found the average age that a child gets his or her first cell phone is 10.3 years of age. In addition, the study found:

  • 64 percent of kids have access to the Internet via their own laptop or tablet, compared to just 42 percent in 2012.
  • While 85 percent accessed the Internet from a room shared with the family in 2012, that number dropped to 76 percent in 2017.
  • 24 percent of kids now have “private” access to the Internet from their bedrooms (compared to 15 percent in 2012).
  • 39 percent of kids got a social media account before they were 11½ years old.
  • 11 percent of kids got a social media account when they were younger than 10.

So what do you do when worlds collide?

The first thing you need to do is stop and take a beat. Ask any parent and they’ll tell you the same thing – they’re doing their best and making a lot of it up as they go along, just as you are. Technology is more accessible for our kids than it ever was for us and, as it’s constantly evolving, we’re all trying to keep up. Approaching without judgement means you’ll have a clearer perspective and be better equipped to answer questions and respond to difficult situations with reason and not emotion.

While you’re at it, take the time to have a conversation. Whether it’s with the parents of your child’s bestie or your child himself, it’s important to have an open-minded conversation where you can respectfully share your position. It’s not a debate, but an opportunity to see an issue from a different perspective. If you are talking to your child, they need to understand why your rules are in place even if they don’t agree with them. If it’s with another parent, understanding their perspective goes a long way toward building bridges and creating community. Who doesn’t want more people on their team, supporting their parenting?

Don’t feel like you have to compromise but be open to what others are doing. Perhaps they have older children and have already “been there, done that” and have insight into your current situation. Maybe their child has needs you aren’t aware of and that “extra time” your child says their friend “always gets” is used for assistive technology that facilitates learning. Plus, let’s be honest, some kids are simply more mature than others. While it’s wise to follow the age restrictions set by platforms like Snapchat or Instagram, some kids aren’t ready until they’re much older. Age limits are guidelines. You know your child better than anyone – including your child himself. You need to consider your child’s personality as well. Is he/she the kind to push boundaries or are they a rule-follower? As they demonstrate maturity and build trust, start adding privileges.

Finally, reach out to other parents you respect for support and guidance. Find a parent who is active on social media and knows about different platforms and privacy settings so you can feel more confident about what to allow. Chances are, they’ve got questions too. Build a community of support and mentor one another. You’ll have empowered and educated yourself and built a stronger parenting community for your child.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.


  1. Howdy! I just want to give you a big thumbs up for your excellent info you have got right here on this post.
    I’ll be coming back to your site for more soon.

  2. I’m not sure exactly why but this weblog is loading very slow
    for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my end?
    I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

  3. Não é a primeira vez que visito este site, gosto muito
    dos seus textos, são agradáveis de se ler. Tenho visto diariamente.
    E é realmente muito bom! Parabéns!

  4. Hey there this is somewhat of off topic but I was wondering if blogs
    use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code
    with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding
    know-how so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  5. A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I do believe that you should write more about this issue, it may not be a taboo
    subject but usually people do not discuss these issues.
    To the next! Many thanks!!

  6. Pretty component of content. I simply stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to claim that I acquire actually loved account your blog posts.

    Anyway I will be subscribing in your feeds and even I achievement you get entry to consistently quickly.

  7. Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to
    my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
    She placed the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but
    I had to tell someone!

  8. Hi there, I discovered your web site by way of Google whilst searching for
    a similar subject, your site got here up, it seems great.
    I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
    Hi there, simply become alert to your blog via Google, and located that it is really informative.
    I am going to be careful for brussels. I will appreciate in the event you proceed this in future.
    Numerous people will be benefited out of your writing.

  9. It’s in fact very difficult in this active life to
    listen news on Television, so I just use world wide web for
    that purpose, and take the hottest news.

  10. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is required to get set up?
    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% certain. Any recommendations
    or advice would be greatly appreciated. Kudos

  11. My coder is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of the costs. But he’s tryiong none the less.

    I’ve been using Movable-type on a variety of websites for about a year and am nervous about switching to another platform.
    I have heard excellent things about Is there a
    way I can import all my wordpress content into it? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  12. Having read this I thought it was rather informative.
    I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this informative article together.
    I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  13. I do consider all the ideas you have offered in your post. They’re
    really convincing and can definitely work. Still, the posts are very brief for starters.
    Could you please prolong them a bit from next time?
    Thanks for the post.

  14. I’ve been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.

    It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all web
    owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

  15. After checking out a few of the blog posts on your web page,
    I really appreciate your technique of writing
    a blog. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website
    list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my web
    site as well and let me know what you think.

  16. I am really impressed along with your writing skills as smartly as with the format to your weblog.
    Is this a paid subject or did you modify it yourself? Either way
    stay up the excellent quality writing, it is uncommon to look a nice weblog like this one these days..

  17. Güvenlik Kamerası HD Porno İzle Sikiş Videoları 7DAK Güvenlik Kamerası Adam çoktan sikini çıkarmış karimin ağzına vermiş karımda iştahla yalıyor emiyordu, kremi kalçalarımın arasına sürüp yerleştiğinde beni yere
    boylu. Sizler telefonun ucunda olduğunuzu unutacak.
    O an kötü utanmış ve kızarmıştım.

  18. I’m more than happy to discover this website. I wanted to thank you for
    ones time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely loved every bit of it and I have you book-marked to see new
    things on your site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *