GALLERY: Digital parenting

Nikki Bush says if you provide your child with any internet-capable device, it is your responsibility to set boundaries.

Grayston Preparatory in Sandown hosted a ‘Tech Savvy Parenting’ workshop on 16 July. Guest speakers for the evening were Joburg-based creative parenting expert and author, Nikki Bush, and Durban-based e-safety specialist, Mark Khoury of VirtueNet. Funds raised from ticket sales to the workshop went towards supporting Joburg Child Welfare’s Granny Programme at the Othandweni Family Care Centre in Soweto.

“Kids today are digital natives,” explained Bush. “They have been digitally nurtured in a plug-and-play world their whole lives, and are using hand-held devices that have more computer processing power than the New Horizons spacecraft that recently took photos of Pluto.”

“If you provide your child with any internet-capable device, it is your responsibility to set boundaries,” continued Bush. “Unfortunately, a lot of people avoid parenting their kids online by hiding behind their own technophobia. If you want your child to respect you and take you seriously, you need to set boundaries, in both the offline and online world.”

“Most parents have probably already tried some kind of free ‘nanny-type’ software,” said Khoury. “But they soon realise they can’t adequately safeguard their kids in a modern home that has a plethora of internet-capable devices like desktop PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, and gaming consoles.”

Khoury concluded that while one may no longer be the chief technology officer in one’s home, he or she is still the CEO in their child’s life story and digital journey. “You need to teach your child to look left, look right, and look left again on the information superhighway. And you need to be part of your child’s on-screen journey from as early on as possible.”

Details: Nikki Bush 083 265 5754, VirtueNet 086 122 2488, Jo’burg Child Welfare Tracey Pitout 011 298 8567.

Paula Gruben

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