May 4, 2017

Parenting in the digital age doesn’t seem so daunting 10 years ago. There were far less accessible smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets, and family time didn’t mean sitting around the table with your heads down and eyes locked on the screen.

While this scenario is inevitable at some point, is there really a way to train your kids to be digitally responsible?

Turns out there is.

According to Dr. Ruben Encarnacion, clinical psychologist and guest speaker at Pursuits, children ages three to six are the most susceptible to the bad influences of TV and the internet. “These are things you cannot avoid [because] they’re part of everyday life. [What parents should do] is to be aware of the harmful things, and to tell their children that these are [inappropriate for them],” he says.

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Dr. Ruben Encarnacion

“It’s up to [the children] to discern which one is good for them and which one is bad. They have to regulate themselves and the parents should always be around.” Ruben Encarnacion

A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics on the importance of children’s media use involves the concept of family media planning, which greatly considers the health, entertainment, and educational needs of each child. As Dr. Encarnacion suggests, too much screen time can lead to weaker concentration (both in school and at home), lower EQ, difficulty in building relationships, and even obesity. Two hours of screen time for children under the age of two is already deemed excessive, and that those under two should have no screen time at all.

When asked if it’s okay to create a social media account for your child (i.e. Instagram), Dr. Encarnacion had one thing to say: “Stupid. That’s why social media is for [children who are] 13 years old [and above], because that’s the standard regulation.” There’s a good reason why policies such as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule are imposed. Unless they’re of the right age, it’s best to adhere to these guidelines.

On the bright side, technology can be positively beneficial for children, provided that they will be limited to the right kind of content. “It’s up to [the children] to discern which one is good for them and which one is bad. They have to regulate themselves and the parents should always be around,” advices Dr. Encarnacion. Even in the advent of technology and social media, the same parenting rules apply: be involved, set limits, and teach them good values.

 

Pursuits is an intimate brunch, organized by Southern Living magazine, to celebrate motherhood and was held at The Bellevue Manila in Alabang last April 27.

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