I talk calmly to my child or teenager about what they saw, how it made them feel and explain that pornography isn’t a realistic depiction of loving, consensual relationships. I reassure them that they’re not in trouble and to come to me if they see anything online that makes them feel ‘strange’ or ‘uncomfortable’.
This is the world kids now live in and there’s very little I can do to stop my child or teenager from viewing pornography at home, or when they’re out and about. I suggest that they don’t share it with their siblings or friends.
Q3. Your son throws a techno-tantrum when asked to switch off his gaming console. How do you handle it?
This issue isn’t really on my radar. My son certainly doesn’t have his own gaming console and if he ever gets to use technology, I monitor it the whole time and he literally shuts it down the minute I tell him to switch off.
Panic. I start googling as to whether this is a sign he could be diagnosed with ‘Gaming Addiction’ and check the local addiction rehab centre and my health insurance policy (I recently read the World Health Organisation now recognises this as a legitimate psychological disorder so I’m wondering if there’s any rebate for counselling services or a stint in a rehab centre).
Stay calm. I know it’s a ‘typical’ neurobiological response and I can implement a host of strategies to either prevent it from happening in the first place, or to limit its impact and duration (and stay sane).
I’ve already consulted the IT guru at work and asked him to come around and set up Internet-filtering tools on the device. I’ve also started googling some of the risks and have downloaded an iPad contract to give to my child to sign before I buy any such device.
Attend the parent information evening the school invited us to, then set up Internet-filtering tools on the device and have informal, ongoing conversations with my child about responsible and respectful online behaviour.
Panic and consider calling the other child’s parents immediately (even if it is 11pm at night). Start to investigate local psychologists to help my daughter deal with this issue and consider banning her phone.
Tell my daughter to ‘toughen up’ and that there are unkind people in the world. This is life and she needs to learn how to cope with it (or otherwise she’ll need to delete her social media accounts if she can’t handle it).
Q6. Your son keeps misbehaving at school, refuses to do his homework and is being aggressive with his brother. Do you use screen-time as a punishment tool?
No I don’t. I know that using screens as a punishment isn’t really effective in changing his behaviour in the long term and may in fact deter him from coming to me in the future, if he’s ever cyber-bullied, or sees something inappropriate online. I look at what’s underlying his behaviour instead.
I am obsessed with the risks to her health. I’ve read so many blog posts that warn of the dangers to kids’ health and wellbeing. That’s why I strictly monitor how much time she’s spending on her phone to ensure she has significantly more time unplugged. Her schedule is so full in the hope that it limits her phone use.
I’ve weighed up some of the risks (especially as it relates to her hearing, vision and posture) and try to encourage healthy digital habits at home.She will inherit a digital future so I believe she needs to learn how to use these devices.
Some of the time. I try to be really vigilant about using screens around my kids, as I’m so wary about the harmful impact it may have on our relationship and the digital habits they may inherit. However, I’m often on my phone googling parent advice or seeking expert opinions on forums.
Most of the time... I set boundaries (and I’m pretty good at sticking to them) around when and where I’ll use my phone. If I need to use my phone more than usual, I just let my kids know what I’m doing.
You run your family and house like an air-traffic controller, with precision, attention to detail and military timing. Managing screens is no different. You firmly believe that it’s important for kids to grow up without screens (you have nostalgic memories of your analogue childhood and want the same for your kids), so you’ve made the choice to ‘digitally amputate’ your kids. Your kids have limited, if any, access to screens because you don’t see the benefits, only the risks. Your children and teens have strict routines and rarely step out of line, if they do there are serious consequences which are carefully detailed in your behaviour contracts for each child.
Dr. Kristy Goodwin
You’re the A-type parent (you know because you’ve previously done some online parenting courses). You’re heavily involved in your child’s life and spend a lot of time worried about your child’s wellbeing, development and learning. You’re often seeking expert parental advice and many hours are dedicated to googling the latest information about your latest parenting concerns, especially as it relates to technology. You obsess over the time your child spends online and worry constantly about the risks relating to cyber-safety, cyber-bullying and exposure to violent or pornographic content.
Dr. Kristy Goodwin
You encourage your kids to be thoughtful about their behaviour, have open, ongoing conversations with you and you help to guide their behaviour and decisions. You have firm boundaries, especially as it relates to their digital devices and consistently enforce these boundaries (like all of us, you give into pester power sometimes too and let them have the occasional extra hour on the iPad after they’ve pleaded for five minutes). You believe it’s important for your children to develop a good moral compass through guided experiences and self-reflection, but always reassure your child that they can come to you with any concerns and you’ll be able to help them course-correct or navigate the digital plane, without crashing.
Dr. Kristy Goodwin
You’re a fairly relaxed, calm parents and so too are your children. You believe in limited parental involvement and instead allow your children to take risks, make their own decisions and follow their own path in life, with minimal parental intervention or guidance. When it comes to managing technology, you adopt a very laissez faire approach- your kids and teens can manage their own screen habits and you believe they’ll learn important life lessons online and will moderate their own behaviour over time.
Dr. Kristy Goodwin