Raising Digital Natives: A mother’s journey in the age of information overload

Raising Digital Natives: A mother’s journey in the age of information overload

As a mom of three thriving and energetic boys, a quick scroll through social media can make my heart race. Let’s be honest, it can be scary. Growing up in a simpler, pre-internet age, life felt calmer, secrets less exposed. Now, skeletons rattle freely in the digital closet; the internet remembers everything, forgives nothing.

Gen Z, the digital natives, were born wired. They speak the language of social media fluently, but fluency does not guarantee responsible use.

We share our stories with a click, unaware of their reach, their permanence. Are we, the parents, truly prepared when the consequences of those clicks come home to roost? The digital age is a double-edged sword. Yes, it is a gift – a vast library at our fingertips, a platform for connection and creativity. It is also a breeding ground for negativity, addiction, and the constant, nagging worry of a child traversing this uncharted territory.

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Here is the question that keeps me up most nights: as parents, how far do we go in embracing technology while staying connected to our children’s digital lives? Does our parenting style truly matter? I recently watched a documentary about a dictator and it explored the undeniable link between his upbringing and his ruthless leadership. The “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” they say. However, in this digital era, it may.

This got me thinking: how can we nurture the roots of our digital natives, ensuring they flourish in this complex online world? The answer, I believe, lies in empowerment. Yes, Gen Z may be tech-savvy, but they are still developing critical thinking skills and the responsibility that comes with digital citizenship. We, the parents, are their guides.

Equip for Success: Raising Responsible Digital Citizens

The internet is not going anywhere. Parenting in the digital age is not about monitoring every click; it is about equipping your child with the tools they need to thrive. Teach them critical thinking skills to discern fact from fiction in the online ocean of information. In my own experiences, I have seen that critical thinking skills are valuable in all aspects of life. Discuss online safety – responsible social media use, protecting their privacy, and the importance of a positive digital footprint. Your child needs to understand the consequences of every action. Therefore, the foundation for a healthy digital life is open communication. Create a safe space where your child feels comfortable sharing their online experiences, the good, the bad, and the embarrassing.

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To enjoy quality “family time” boundaries are crucial. Setting screen time limits, establishing “tech-free zones” in the house, and encouraging offline activities like sports, hobbies, or face-to-face interaction creates a well-rounded digital ecosystem for you and your child. Empower your child with digital literacy, and walk with them in that journey in ensuring they become responsible digital citizens.

Dorothy Rudo Nyagumbo

Dorothy Rudo Nyangumbo is an associate consultant, client relationship expert, published author, and the My Afrika Magazine Copy Editor & Columnist.

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