2012 Higher Love

Parent Well in our Digital World

Gloria DeGaetano

Parent Well in our Digital World – Parental Knowledge and Involvement

Part One: Guest Interview

Gloria, founder of The Parent Coaching Institute (PCI) and author of Parenting Well in a Media Age, talks with PCI Certified Parent Coach® Lauren Leiker. Lauren coaches moms, dads, and couples through her parent coaching business, ParentingAware. Lauren is also a part-time parent education instructor at North Seattle Community College. As the mother of two children ages, 13 and 10, Lauren brings both practical wisdom and much expertise as an educator to the parents she coaches.

Did you know that only 2% of US parents actually know what video games their kids are playing? Yet, 89% of video games have violent content, not fit for any child or teen we wish to raise in a civilized manner.

Have you taken time to review your kids’ games? Do you know what they do and who they chat with when they are on the Internet? If you haven’t yet—it is well worth the time it takes, to find out. Parental knowledge about what are kids are seeing and doing on-line and with those devices is so important. Our knowledge and our continuous involvement in our kids’ media/digital world, ensures their healthy well-being as they grow up to be self-actualized, fulfilled human beings—in spite of the dangers lurking around every digital corner!

In this podcast, PCI Coach Lauren encourages parents to go beyond setting time limits with screens. Our kids are on the internet. What are they looking at? What are they exposed to? How can we monitor their activity? Listen as she provides five clear steps:

1. Lay the foundation by preparing children and teens before you buy any digital device. Talk, talk, and talk some more…What will you use this smart phone for? Do you know we will have time limits you can be on the i-pad? Are you prepared for the consequences if you do not abide by the time limits?
2. Think of developing “healthy digital habits.” Just like we work on healthy eating habits and regular doses of exercise, think of digital device health. What does it look like? Feel like in your family? What are the positive outcomes you want to see with “healthy digital habits?”
3. Be clear and firm, yet open and mindful. By carefully observing our children, we can intervene more quickly and get them back on a positive track.
4. Think of ways to renew the entire family through time off with screens. Lauren calls this: Family Self-Care.
5. Participate as a family in screen time. Lauren gives a great example of how she and her husband will see something on the Internet that they make a point to share with their kids—after dinner when all can be together to watch a funny cat video or read an educational blog. They participate together and talk together. That keeps parents involved and knowledgeable—a terrific combination for parenting well in our digital world!

Part Two: The Parent Coaching Corner™

I continue coaching Geri, mom of three boys, ages 13, 12, and 9 regarding self-management of their digital devices. In our last session, Geri said she was “screaming for joy” inside because she was able to get her two older sons to agree to not play violent video games—most of the time. Her 13 yr. old was still hanging onto Battlefield 3, and Geri was allowing this because he had recently taken up skateboarding with a friend and was not playing the game on weekends like he used to nor was he playing the game during school nights. So Geri is observing and waiting for the right time to make this decision. In the meantime, she keeps talking with all her sons, keeping the lines of communication open and isn’t afraid to make firm decisions, like taking away her middle son’s i-pad because of his poor school performance for the first week of classes.

This session is the next to our last coaching session and we spend time re-capping the pieces of Geri’s action plan that have been working well. Geri also starts to realize in a big way all the practical, positive changes she has put into motion over the past three months!

(Listen to the ten past podcasts to catch up with Geri.)