Book ReviewsfamilyMotherhoodParenting

Parenting in our Connected World

My children have been spending a lot more time on their devices. We’ve had to accept that they will be using their devices more than usual. School work is done using iPads, their reading program is loaded on the iPad and then there’s the occasional game (or 3). Even though we have been very careful with technology use in the past, it has become part of our daily routine now and we have no choice but to embrace it. Just like with any parenting issue, we can either disengage and hope for the best or we can get involved and equip our children.

Just this last week Ethan, my soon to be 8 year old, was complaining about having nightmares. He has always been very sensitive to what he watches and how it affects him. For a few nights in a row, he would ask me to pray with him so that he wouldn’t have nightmares. Until one night, when he just walked up to me and started sobbing and confessed to having seen some figure that popped up while he was watching Kids You-tube. The ‘figure’ said he could hack into his iPad and Ethan was terrified. We prayed about what he saw, I reassured him of my love and understanding and that he has nothing to be afraid of. This was such an eye opener for me. The effects of what happens online is huge!!! We have since been able to have meaningful discussions around online safety.

It’s our responsibility to give our children the tools to make good choices, learn from their mistakes and overcome challenges. One such book is a book by The Chat called #wellconnected.

Let me start off by saying this is the second book from THE CHAT that I have had the privilege of reviewing.

Check out: http://lanesofgrace.co.za/2020/03/18/the-chat-birds-bees-and-destinies-book-review/

These tools have been invaluable to me as a mom and the timing of these books have been incredible. Navigating the different issues in Parenthood is challenging and resources like these make it easier for parents to start the right conversations. Some conversations are tough to have, but it is often the most challenging dialogues which bring the greatest freedom and deepest connection. I also love what Christy and The Chat stand for: “The heart of The Chat is to catalyse healthy, open, life-giving conversations around some of the big topics, such as sex, smart phones and social media in homes, schools and communities.

#Wellconnected is a book for young digital users exploring the online space for the first time. Many things can go wrong when we are online: We can make some big mistakes and we can see stuff we wish we hadn’t. This book aims to help 8-12-year-olds be SAFE, WISE and KIND as they find their way around cyber space and navigate their online lives.

What I loved about this book:

  1. It is written for children between the ages of 8 and 12 to equip themselves and is easy enough to read by themselves. It’s definitely a book to have in their room so that they can refer to it often.
  2. It is full of practical and relatable information.
  3. It includes great family resources such as:
    • Conversation Starters that you can use as a family to have open conversations around this subject and so build trust and connection.
    • 10 Tips on how to be a well connected family.
    • A family Contract to be signed by Parent and child.
  4. It has awesome illustrations and diversity is well represented.

Author: Christy Herselmann. Illustrator: Cristy Zinn. Publisher: Struik Christian Media

Available from online booksellers and leading bookshops nationwide.

Here are some of my tips for parenting in a connected world

  1. Ensure Balance & Boundaries – Agree on a clear set of rules with your child. Have a set time for screen time. Restrict the use of devices from the bedroom completely or depending on the age of the child. Set a curfew.
  2. Set an example – Do as you say. Modeling behaviour is the most powerful way to teach your children.
  3. Encourage family activities such as boardgames.
  4. Don’t always have screens on in the background.
  5. Keep track of their online activities.
  6. Take interest in their games and let them show you some of their favourite ones.
  7. Be available and open for your children to talk to you about their online world.
  8. Give them the tools to make good choices.

*This review is in collaboration with Struik Christian Media

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