Digital Freedom {A Parent's Role}

What ruins a garden left alone?

Weeds

Yep.

They steal nutrients from other plants, creating relentless battle for survival. — And if the annoying little things aren’t pulled, a harvest eventually fails. Crazy huh, when you stop to think about it!

‘Weeds’ are a part of life, for every single one of us. Where do they take root in yours? How about your kids?

Technology is 21st Century’s “soil”. We hear about weed-like behavior online, and it’s growing.

In this year, we’re digital farmers. (Are you following me? 🙂 Take away the family cow and the tractor, you and I have land to tend. — Your kid’s life is a thriving pasture, and negative influences are weeds. ‘Farming’ is a daily thing, and requires more than surface care. Whether or not kids have a phone, digital opportunity is all around; this conversation is for all of us.

You are a ‘digital farmer’.

What kind of labor are you willing to put in here?

The simple fact is this. You know your kids best, their strengths and weaknesses. You are the best farmer for this. So pull the weeds. Do whatever it takes.

The idea that kids need less parenting with age, less time, — it’s not true! Your kids need more of you! They need your commitment. They need your concern. They need your intentional presence. They need B O U N D A R I E S ! — They just need especially gentle tone with delivery. (I’m learning this with crazy speed, bumps, and bruises. You’re so not alone!)

How can I offer independence, without loosing too much grip? What is overstep when it comes to privacy? I want to respect my teen, and I don’t want to push them away.

Amen to all of that. Here are some things to remember.

(I’ve gathered these tidbits over time, & hope they rest well with you too.)

  • Digital support is just one role of parenting, and digital freedom is just one part of teenage independence.Don’t let digital independence define your kid’s judgement of freedom. Do our kids realize how good they have it!? What is their world view? (That’s a whole other post 🙂

  • Screen presence does not define a person’s value.Every one of us is created with purpose. How is technology supporting this? Friends should not be limited to screen engagement, and social media is just one way to connect, etc. Put security in the right things.

  • The Internet is never private.Screenshots and social networking make everything permanent. Everything you say and do online can be saved and shared, forever. (For me, for you, for every single person.)

  • Use passwords to protect, not to liberate.Passwords aren’t for privacy between parent and child. Password privacy is ultimate freedom!When your kids have password control, they are free to explore wherever they please.(Temptation will arise, no matter how trusting your kids are!)

  • Teenagers want to be heard. Listen before you speak, and they will be quicker to hear you out. (Eek, so convicting for me. Slow down, and listen ~)

  • Set clear boundaries. Stick to them. And review them often. Kids like to know what’s expected of them.

  • L O V E  ~  T H E M  ~  F I E R C E L Y  (Spend time. Communicate. Accept. Support. Be available. Know them. Know their friends and their interests.)

  • Be thoughtful. “You are what you think.”

  • Build on the positive. Help your kids see that you are “for them” and not against them, especially when things don’t go their way. (Disappointments will come. Offer hope as a shield. What is their anchor when things go awry?)

  • Don’t battle for supremacy.So many times a battle for independence can blind our focus on what matters most. When we parent for their good, not our own, perspective is right. (Another note to self!)

  • Pull you own weeds too. Examples often speak louder than words.

What would you add to this? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please share. Let this be a community of support.

Together we T H R I V E ~

Til next time!

~ Ayme

Digital Summer for Families

You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em

Know when to fold ‘em

Know when to walk away

And know when to run ~

Ah, Kenny Rogers…so wise 😉 Truth be told, ‘How to play the hand’is a question for all of us.

Parents/caretakers, you and I hold similar cards with “screen time, ” and we’re all-in. Digital life is definitely a part of summer fun, & something worth planning for. Are you ready!?

As kids grow more independent and capable, assertive in their own right, every season looks different from the previous, and this conversation does too. I’m learning my way through tween-&-teenage years right now, and digital independence is a hot topic in our home. Shared perspective isn’t very easy at this stage. (not that it ever really was…but sometimes I think we need an interpreter. Ha, just kidding {?} Anyone relate? 🙂

Screen bargaining makes for a stressful home, so we need clarity from the start. With that said, I’ve come up with a few ideas (sharing here for comradery). Thinking it through was my first step. I’d love to hear your thoughts. What works for you?

Create a plan.

It’s going to be worthwhile. In your home, what are everyone’s

thoughts about healthy boundaries with technology?

Communicate the plan and Commit.

Our kids and everyone who is going to be taking care of them should have clear expectations this summer. (Surprises aren’t fun when it comes to this.)

Support the plan.

What are the consequences if boundaries are crossed? Are you going to give more

time or freedom for chores or other things?

4 Steps to a Safe Digital Summer || F A M I L I E S

Digital Freedom | Apps | Downloads | Media

(Saying yes, no, and maybe so…)

  • What kinds of digital activity are you allowing for your kids? Why?

  • How do your kids ask for new apps or games? (Can they approve downloads themselves, or do you talk about it first?)

  • What filters/screen-monitoring do you have in place?

  • Do you have strong passwords for the internet, Youtube, and other social media? (Guys, this is a really big deal. There is a lot of support surrounding this need.)

  • How much time is given to gaming vs. productivity when they are on screens? (Technology can be advantageous in so many ways. That’s easy to forget when you’re young and free of commitments.)

  • What kinds of purposeful things can technology be used for this summer? (What are your kids interested in? What kind of apps do they want to download? Is there a real-life skill they could be building on here? Summer is a good time to get to know each other better and encourage individuality.)

Technology At Home

(ClearExpectations)

  • What kind of time restrictions do you have for screen use? Or –‘’What do you want them to be?” might be the better question. (I know it is for me.)

  • Can your kids earn more time, or less, based on attitude or helpfulness? (This sounds like some kind of Pinterest idea that I never got to when my kids were younger. The charts and stickers and all of that was intimidating to keep up with. Why does it have to be so elaborate? It doesn’t!)

  • How are expectations at home communicated? (Do or don’t do a chart. We’re all different. What works for you?)

  • Where do devices go when they aren’t in use? Do you have a charging station or something like that?

  • A written plan | “Technology Contract”  I’ve always thought the idea of a family contract for screens is a good idea. It’s never too late to start! Instead of being discouraged that we never did, our family’s going to begin this summer. There are a ton of ideas for how to do this. {I’ll be posting mine on the blog soon! – because that’s my accountability to get it done.} Do you have one for your family?

Technology Away From Home

(Trust, Limits, & Reason)

  • What kind of networking are your kids doing when they are with friends, a team, or other childcare?

  • Have you communicated internet safety enough with your kids? Do they know when something isn’t safe or appropriate? (With so many different family values and spectrum of choices, what kind of foundation do they stand on?

*Sleepovers are a big part of this. I’ve read plenty of articles, even one is enough, about first time & ongoing exposure to pornography, pedophilia, or bullying at sleepovers. When we send our kids off to stay with someone else, there needs to be peace of mind here! I felt really inspired after reading this post by Monica Swanson. I’m working on some ideas for our family in this area. Communication between parents is a super big must.

Technology Role Modeling

(Actions vs. Words)

It’s one thing to set limits for the kids, but how about us? Eek. I’m so convicted. Can I shut it all off in a moment’s notice? We’re telling our kids to get outside and curbing their screen habits, but what about ours? In a perfect world, I’d be self-controlled here. I’d set aside limited time each day for technology. I think we all would.

Our kids will be watching us this summer, taking cues about how we manage time. (It’s honestly one of the greatest challenges for me as a parent.) But that’s not a bad thing. It’s ok when our kids see us struggle here. Maybe it gives them a chance to support us too!

I know that having a plan for all of this is going to make summer a lot more fun, and that’s what it’s all about! Counting down the days now:)

As always, thank you for joining here!
Together we thrive~

Ayme

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Positive Internet Safety

The pros and cons of what we’re doing online, I’m weighing in, making sense of it all. How about you?

 

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “digital safety?” Do you immediately think about predators and intentional wrongdoing? Yep, me too, — I’d say that’s probably where a lot of us go. But digital safety is positive. It’s not just about defense. With time and thought, digital safety empowers us, frees us.

It’s hard to even put it out there for conversation “digital safety.” You and I, we’d rather talk about something else, – a vacation we’re dreaming of, or an exciting home project, maybe just go shopping instead. I love all of those things. But there’s great value and opportunity in this discussion too, for all of us.

How can we associate this with the positive?

When you go camping, do you prepare first? Of course! You get supplies together, and make a plan. In the same way, we have to prepare for online adventuring, put some thought into it. With clear view and a secure route, the digital world becomes less scary and more positive. Without these things, we easily end up in the wrong situation.

“Guard your heart.”

But how?

What does “digital safety” look like, specifically, and tangibly, from the heart? That’s exactly what I’m asking. That’s why I’m committed here.

For all of us, kids included, screens are core for daily interaction and productivity. In one way or another, they are literally everywhere. You don’t have to own a phone, or even have wifi, to be a part of this conversation.

I spend time here because I I know the topic is relevant for others. We all need clear direction with this stuff. And I am set out for a solid path. Are you?

Even with filters and monitors, some things are simply unavoidable. We have to seek protection for our hearts above all else. Knowing what to walk away from, and how, are key. But walking away from these things also means walking toward something else.

What are our options? What are our choices?

Join the Conversation!

Together We Thrive~

Ayme

Screens | A Clear View

Believing we can “do it all”, these days many of us hustle to the beat of a growing agenda. It’s unrealistic. The ‘Super People’ mentality overwhelms me. How about you? An array of media and images makes it seem possible, but it’s not. We often get caught up in a list of to-dos that simply draw our attention to the wrong things. Living thoughtfully and intentionally is tricky in our society.

Internet accountability takes time, energy, and diligence. Whether focused on self or others, we can’t be all-in with this until we get a clear view. Goals have to be realistic, and distractions limited. My family has entirely different needs, strengths, and weaknesses than yours…and vice verse. It’s time to focus, right where you are. It’s time for me, right where I am too.

Put on your boots, move the hair from your eyes, and look forward. You need a clear view to walk this road, — your road.

Self-control.It is the core of positive thinking andthe root of healthy living. We need self-control with our time, our thoughts, and our agendas. Self-control is the keystone for positive online behavior. Filters and other attempts to manage screens are only part of the solution. They are only effective with a willing and determined heart.

Internal moral judgement is critical to finding a strong way. Without reasoning and rationale for healthy online habits, how can we expect them to last?

Here are some questions to consider for our families. (Click on link below.)

In every home, no matter what makeup, screen use is a daily consideration. It’s not a one-time fix. Updates, downloads, and evolving opportunities make this an ongoing necessity. From fake news to psychologically-driven coding, we peruse feeds daringly. Careful evaluation is in high demand.

Let’s unite, as individuals, families, and friends, to use opportunity well and implore goodness at every angle.~