We've got to break it to you. You're a role model, and you signed up to be one the moment you become a parent. There's no opt-out on this choice; you're in it for the long haul.
Your choice of language? It could be the reason your toddler dropped a swear word at the precious age of 3.
Your moments of impatience? It could be contributing to why your tween gets worked up easily.
Your digital habits? Yep. You can bet your last dollar that your kid is watching and absorbing those, too.
If our kids are always watching, what digital habits are they picking up from us?
Let's be real for a second. It's easy to criticize how our kids interact with technology, but it's deeply uncomfortable to think about how we might be responsible for those exact habits. If the thought of examining the part you play in your kid's good or bad habits with their phones makes you squirm, hold onto your seat.
You're right where you're supposed to be because healthy digital habits start with us.
For good or bad, our kids are sponges that absorb what we DO more than what we SAY. We can preach the importance of taking a break from phones or making sure they stay balanced in the digital world, but if our actions contradict our words, our kids will only notice one part of the message. Can you guess which one it is?
Now, with that in mind, let's take some time for self-examination.
What Are Your Unhealthy Digital Habits?
Let's jump right in with some questions about your relationships with social media, your phone, and your digital habits.
Are you on your phone, overtly or covertly, most of the time?
Real talk. It’s not enough to be physically present with your kids. Sure you’re physically with them, but you’re mentally absent by being on your phone. Not only are you missing out on key moments in your kids' lives, but you also set the example that it's okay to prioritize technology over people.
Do you obsess over getting a perfect, social media-ready picture instead of making meaningful connections in the moment?
Ok, we'll be honest. This is a trap we're often guilty of falling into. It's really easy to care more about making a moment seem perfect so we can impress people online than it is to actually be present in the moment! Think carefully, though, about what this digital habit teaches our kids. We're showing them that likes and follows are more important than real-life relationships.
Does the time spent on your phone regularly affect your mood and interactions with your family?
Reality check. If negativity or frustration from what you see online spills over into impatience with your kids or disconnection from important family moments, there's a problem. You're demonstrating that digital devices and social media are dictating your happiness, not reality.
Do you often complain about how your life, house, or body differs from what you see online?
Sit back and think here. If your digital habits suck you into the endless loop of comparison and negativity about how your life isn't social media perfect, there’s an issue. You’re showing your kids that their self-esteem is measured by how perfect and happy their lives look online.
If you're ready for us to take the pressure off, we can't just yet. We've got the most important question of all hanging over our heads.
How would your kids describe your digital habits?
Better yet, ask them this question the next chance you have.
Now, we get it. This might be the most painful question of all, especially because we risk of hearing a difficult answer from our kids. However, this is what makes it the most essential one to sit and wrestle with.
If we're modeling unhealthy digital habits, can we really blame our kids if they become obsessed with their phones, pull away from connecting during family time, or start putting all their self-esteem into their social media likes and follows? The truth is that they're simply mimicking the example we've set for them.
Hang on, though. There's good news because the damage doesn't have to be permanent!
Team up with your kids and start building better digital habits together.
We'll be honest. We don't have the answers here because every family is different. There's no one-size-fits-all prescription for creating healthy digital habits. More importantly, this is a path your family should embark on together. Yes, it'd be easier to download a list from us that lays it all out perfectly in 5 simple steps, but you'd miss out on a much greater opportunity.
So here's the only instruction we'll give:
Involve your kids at every stage of the process.
This is your chance to come together as a family unit and build relationships with each other. Rather than taking the steps from a list and laying them down like the law (we know how well that goes over with teens), bring every person together into a discussion so that each has a stake in creating new digital habits for your family.
This collaboration gets your kids invested in having healthy boundaries with technology and sets the stage for how your family attacks problems in the future.
Imagine creating a family dynamic where you collaboratively tackle difficult subjects and overcome obstacles.
Imagine the relationships you’d be building with your kids over the years.
Now, get out there, recognize unhealthy digital habits as a chance for a new start, and dive in.
The Aqua One smartphone helps you guide your kids toward good digital habits.
This revolutionary smartphone for kids gives you unlimited parental monitoring! It syncs with your Parent Dashboard to show you every action taken on the phone. Yep, we mean every action. You can view what they've been doing across 3,700+ apps so you'll be able to see digital habits as they're developing and guide your kid towards healthy ones! Get your Aqua One now!