Parents as Digital Home Managers: 10 Practical Parenting Tips in this Wired World

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We worry about it yet we can’t live without it. How do I manage the kids’ gadget use? Is it turning them into little monsters? What to do when they complain “I’m bored 10 minutes after you take the gadget away?”

A few days back, PLDT Home organized a “Mommy Day Out.” Celebrity moms, Denise Laurel and Isabel Oli Prats in the presence of Camille Prats and Issa Litton engaged the moms in an afternoon of chika about Parenting in the Digital World. Psychologist, guidance counselor and co-author of Growing Up Wired, Michele Alignay also gave a talk on the role of parents in managing the whole family’s use of technology ergo the term Digital Manager, or if I may alter it a bit, Digital Home Manager.

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Michele was such a delightful speaker as she shared very practical tips on how to be a good Digital Home Manager. She said, statistics shows that kids who are unmonitored in their gadget use are easily bored, exhibit information overload and have a harder time controlling their emotions. Sharing with you her 10 tips.

1.Develop external regulations.

We have to provide kids external regulations in terms of length of usage time, content they view and appropriate use, etc.   Once you have set the rules and discussed these with the kids, it should strictly be followed.

As for usage time, you can use the recommendations of American Association of Pediatrics as a guide. It is good for kids to share one device, they learn to share while limiting their electronic time since they only have one.

Set a gadget-free time and gadget-free zone. All moms agree that meal times and dining areas should be gadget-free and that rule should be extended to parents as well. Some implement ‘no-gadgets’ during vacations. While other parents allow limited gadget use on school days others strictly enforce the ‘zero-gadget’ rule. Determine which works best for your child.

Agree on a device curfew at night, yes, even on weekends. Some parents turn off the wifi at a certain hour of the night.

PLDT Home will soon be launching a parental control device, PLDT Home FAMZONE. It is a subscription service that controls and monitors the kids’ internet activities. Up to 10 devices can be connected and thru it you can set different internet hour durations, internet hour time slot, and website restrictions per person!

So when you set 3 hours for eldest brother, internet will automatically turn off after that. I can’t wait for the service to be available because that would be a big help to my family.   The PLDT Home FamZone Box will soon be available at P299/month. While the FamZone app will also be available at P149/month.

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2.   Develop internal regulation among the kids.  By implementing the external regulations, kids will eventually develop personal regulations. This is the end goal. Even if you are not there, or if they are in their classmates’ house, they know the rules and they will follow it.

It is critical that the rules are explained to them and tell them they have to develop their personal timer, personal checker.   When the kids cry, whine, threaten to stow away hehe, let them. They can’t cry for two days.   Just don’t forget to wear ear plugs.

3.  Balance digital and unplug time. There should be a healthy balance from school work, chores, physical activity and electronic time.

4.  Make sure content are developmentally appropriate. According to Michele, this area should never be compromised. Exposure to inappropriate contents adversely affect a kid. Turn to Common Sense Media if you want to know if a movie or an app is age-appropriate.

5.  Choose quality content. I didn’t know that there is now YouTube Kids.

Have only 3 quality apps at a time in the kids’ device. If they want to change it, they have to delete the existing one and have to retain it for at least a month. This also adds to the discipline.

6.  Train kids to be media literates. Kids should reflect about the content, how it affects them and what they should do about it.

7.  Use digital media as a co-engagement tool. Engage with the kids and ask them what they are watching. If they show you a funny video you stop from your own screen time and watch theirs. If the young ones are interested in dinosaurs search for dinosaurs pics together. If there is disturbing and viral news, process it with the older kids.

8.  Raise digital citizens with manners and life skills.  Don’t forget to teach them manners and life skills.

9.  Bored? It’s OK. Parents get stressed out when the kids say they are bored and we take it upon ourselves to provide the kids with stimulation. Of course we have to provide them with stimulation, but not all the time. I’m sure they have lots of toys, arts and crafts they can tinker with, let them think which one they want to do. It will teach them to be more creative in finding solutions to their boredom that are not tied to gadgets.   Boredom also gives their mind some quiet time.

10.  Ensure family security.   Kids should never give out information about themselves or the family online.

PLDT Home uses digital technology to secure our kids and home by introducing the PLDT Home FAMCAM. The PLDT Home FAMCAM is a reliable home monitoring system best experienced with PLDT’s Home Fibr. It is a monthly service subscription that allows us to watch over our kids in our home using the PLDT Home FAMCAM. It works like a CCTV with a few major differences:

It is on-demand, from your cellphone you can choose to turn it on to check on the kids. That way you don’t have to watch the whole CCTV recording at the end day. Who has time for that?

You can also control the pan angle of the camera remotely. Plus it has a two way audio so you can hear what is going on in the room and speak to the yaya or the kids.

Get your PLDT Home FAMCAM for P499/month with your PLDT Home DSL or PLDT Home Fibr broadband! To learn more click, pldthome.com/famcam

PLDT Home also showcased the PLDT Home Smart Watch. It allows them to send and receive calls, listen to music, etc. The great difference is you can use it as a tracking device to check where your kids are. One mom has a subscription and she lets her child wear it in public places. She programmed it to beep loudly if the child wanders 10 meters away.

Surprise your kid with a cool PLDT Home Smart Watch for only P199/month. Check out how it works here,  pldthome.com/smartwatch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMermf1YF1E

10 Tips and PLDT Home Services to help us become a more efficient and effective Digital Home Manager.

Because really, the strongest connections are at home.

Disclosure: Thanks to PLDT Home for inviting TheGoMom to the event and for sponsoring this post.

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