Digital Parenting Educating Children in the Digital Age
Digital parenting educating children in the digital age. Advances in technology cause disruptions in everyday life, from automation that threatens various livelihoods, to how people digest and convey information. Today, more than half of Indonesia’s population is connected to the Internet.
Internet penetration rates are rising year by year. Eric Schmidt, an engineer from Google, even predicts that by 2020 everyone in the world will be online. Unfortunately, advances in digital innovation and ease of Internet access are not accompanied by adequate quality human resources.
Like water or fire, technology can be seen as a gift and a threat. If not managed properly and not used wisely, it can be very dangerous. Therefore, we are of the view that the Digital Literacy Book Series, the collaboration of stakeholders of various sectors, is necessary to make it more public.
Although the word “child” is no stranger to our ears, in fact, many still do not know the classification of children. Several experts agree that the age of children is between 0-18 years.
In this age range, a child is in a period of development, both physically, cognitively, and morally (Poer, 2008: 58) that is not yet perfect. A child is considered to have no ability to fortify himself from the various adverse effects that surround him, including in consuming messages broadcast through various media.
This situation also makes the children of the audience most at risk of the negative effects of media use. Therefore, parents need to play a big role in protecting and educating their children to avoid negative effects
Child psychologist Jean Piaget divides the phases of child development into four stages. The baby is called the sensory phase (0-2 years) when the child begins to learn to move and recognize various physical objects. Toddler + or pre-operative phase (2-7 years) is characterized by the ability to combine and change the various information received by the senses as a concept packet.
Children are the phase of concrete operation (7-11 years). At this time children begin to learn abstract concepts such as complex emotional expressions. The adolescent phase operates formally (> 12 years). It is during adolescence that the ability to think logically, rationally, and systematically begins to develop and becomes the first sign of maturity.
Erikson introduces the level of emotional development of children. He divides it into 5 phases:
1. baby (0-2 years old)
In the first phase, children learn to trust their parents and guardians, if they are neglected it becomes difficult for them to build relationships with others.
2. early childhood (2-3 years)
In the second phase, the children begin to try to control the movement and freedom of their bodies, if they succeed, independence will appear otherwise, they will feel ashamed and hesitant.
3. Pre-school (3-5 years)
In the third phase, children begin to explore their environment, if they are facilitated then they will feel the purpose, if forbidden, they feel guilty.
4. school age (6-11 years)
In the fourth phase, the school environment enables children to interact more broadly so that academic achievement determines the growth of self-confidence or inferiority.
5. and adolescents (12-18 years)
In the fifth phase, teenagers begin to build relationships with others. If they can, they will feel accepted by others if they do not succeed, they will feel lonely and alone.
Following the division of phases similar to Erik Erikson, Lawrence Kolhberg describes the level of moral development of children. Babies are not used to good and bad things, so forms of rewards and punishments are almost impossible to apply in educating them.
Early childhood is the right time to introduce positive rewards for good behavior as they begin to want to benefit themselves but they do not yet understand the negative consequences and punishments.
Furthermore, preschool time is when children strive to get to know themselves and others and want acceptance from others, usually, they are easily manipulated until moral values are introduced.
As they enter school age, children begin to recognize social authority and rules, so that parents and teachers can apply strict rules. As adolescents begin to understand the social contract and the variation of moral values from various groups of society, it is important to understand tolerance to prevent conflict as well as adhere to the moral values taught. family and social environment as follows (Hapsari, 2017).
Digital Media Features
If grouped based on their communication patterns, the media can be divided into two, namely conventional media and digital media.
Conventional media includes print media (newspapers, magazines, tabloids), broadcast media (radio and television), and audio-visual media. While examples of digital media such as news websites, social media, online stores, digital games, mobile phone applications, etc. The following is a comparison of the features of mass media and digital media.
The character of the above digital media has some important effects on family behavior in using the media. There are at least four issues that parents need to consider: message creator, message nature, how the message is spread, and the effect of the message.
These four things make the social environment experienced by children today different from their parents as children. Message creators, everyone can create messages so that even small children are interested in owning an account, presenting themselves, and interacting with other strangers.
This poses a threat and an opportunity. The issue of privacy and physical protection of children from foreigners is a problem that needs to be addressed by parents. On the other hand, children can gain popularity at an early age.
This phenomenon also requires special treatment because excessive attention can hurt children. The nature of digital media messaging varies as it comes from all over the world, moreover, most are not screened by professional media workers.
This makes children receive a variety of messages that most likely do not fit the religious and cultural values of their families. Until chaos emerges to determine the standard norms of truth, appropriateness, and decency. Not only children, but adults can also experience this disorder of the norm.
Digital media messages are also numerous and even unlimited, so it is necessary to determine the time and importance of accessing these messages. Spreading the message, digital media service providers want to gain economic benefits so that they plan their media to be attractive.
A special mechanism is created so that digital media channels can recommend content according to user preferences based on previous usage records. Some digital media producers want to get social attention and recognition.
They want to direct users to follow their opinions on politics, religion, society, etc. Parents need to be aware and give their children an understanding of this goal. The effect of the message, if used properly, is that digital media is an infinite source of knowledge.
Users can use it to learn practical to complex things. But negative content has adverse effects also spread widely in the virtual world, such as fake news, violence, pornography, use. Users must be able to select and organize good and useful content, parents are friends of children for that.
The ease of creating, sending, and using digital media messages provides opportunities and risks to families. People cannot ignore the impact of digital media on their children so they need to develop digital preservation to protect their families.
Since digital media has become a part of family life, parents need to choose parenting methods in the digital age. A large number of parents were raised in the era of mass media, so they had difficulty dealing with digital media. Before determining the method of digital parenting, parents need to understand the characteristics of digital media.
After understanding some forms of parenting and digital media character, parents can develop digital care for their children. There are several general principles of digital parenting: norms, technological effects, message effects, sensitive issues, behavioral examples.
Every family has different principles of norms. Every parent needs to determine the basic values of his family before raising a child so that the limits of good and bad content depend on the values of the family. There is no need to force yourself to accept or reject other family principles as this will only lead to unnecessary conflict.
There are several actions that parents need to take in raising their children with digital media.
1. Accompanying Children
Accessing Devices Parents should always be with their children as they use digital media for two main purposes, namely negotiating access times and selecting media and channels.
Although experts recommend a maximum screen time of 2 hours a day if the activity is combined with productive or affective activities (such as communicating with family in a distant place) the duration can be flexible.
On the other hand, if parents can provide a variety of more useful activities or have important social interactions, then the time to access the device can be reduced. On the other hand, parents’ willingness to know which media and channels their children like will be very useful for building effective communication in parenting.
2. Choose Content That Is Appropriate For Children
Selection can be done with software and understanding. Parents can use the categorization or evaluation used by content providers. Some apps, such as the Play Store, for example, have special categories for families that contain child-friendly content.
Other applications such as Youtube also provide the Youtube Kids channel, make sure children only watch from those channels. But such an arrangement is not enough, because the value of each family is different, so parents need to emphasize the limits of content justice related to body appearance, violent scenes, story value, etc.
3. Understand the Information Provided by Digital Media
Understanding is done using the moral and rational framework of each family. For parents to function in education, that is, parental values that are also shared by children, information obtained through digital media needs to be discussed.
There is a lot of controversial content on the internet like bloody accident reports. Such content is of course not suitable for children to watch, but if the child already has access to it, parents need to provide understanding to avoid, not spread, and anticipate its effects on children’s feelings and thoughts.
4. Analyze Digital Content to Find Positive and Negative Patterns
This discussion aims to have parents and children have an understanding of their views on phenomena outside the home. Discussions also keep children open to various points of view that may be encountered outside the home so that they do not become extreme personalities. At the same time, parents can dig corners
looking at children according to their times so that it is easy to manage them now and in the future.
5. Confirm digital media
Not every piece of information published in digital media is factual information. Verification is done to determine whether the information received is fiction or fact, true news, or false news.
The ability to verify content requires precision and patience because parents and children must be able to trace the source of information obtained and ensure its quality.
6. Evaluate Media Content
Evaluating digital media content is the final decision on the information that has gone through the process of selection, understanding, analysis, and validation.
The decisions that arise include whether this information is trustworthy and disseminated, merely sufficient for personal knowledge, or simply negligible because it is not important information.
Discussions between parents and children can be done to train children to make decisions about the information they receive and get used to criticizing the information they receive through digital media.
7. Distribute Media Content
Based on family values and trends in digital media, parents and children can build an understanding of what content can be shared or not. At the same time, parents need to introduce the concept of private territory which in this digital age is often overlooked or even considered unimportant.
In short, anything that does not deserve to be shared with people in real life should also not be shared on digital media.
8. Produce Positive And Productive Content Together
Parents can direct their time to access the device for productive activities such as learning to draw, word processing, and data. If children are instructed to be producers, their time as consumers will be significantly reduced. They will also learn that the effective use of digital media will support their current and future skills and knowledge as adults.
9. Participate in productive activities related to digital media
There are currently many workshops and competitions where children can participate to practice their ability to use digital media productively. Elsewhere, parents can show digital evidence that many problems in the real world can be influenced by internet user interaction. For example, collecting donations for natural disaster victims can be done through the internet.
10. Working Together to Create Digital Content
Working together is the success of digital literacy skills. To be able to collaborate well and optimize the potential of digital media, digital literacy skills are needed starting from access to active participation.
Collaboration also means the ability to collaborate with many parties in creating useful digital content. In the field of family, collaboration can be done in a simple way, such as creating creative content that is worked on by parents and children.