What is the best way to help children develop socially as tablet users?
On the one hand, we want to give our children the space to explore and learn on their own with tablets.
On the other hand, it is helpful to remember that children need guidance in navigating the online world - particularly as they become middle schoolers.
How can you guide your tween in smart device use?
Dr. Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness, says that children in their tweens may be tech-savvy, but they do not yet have the social skills to make their own way in the sophisticated social media world.
"Middle schoolers are not old enough (or developmentally ready) to have as much freedom online as they often do these days. Think of these devices like cars: Before kids can drive them alone, they need to know the rules. They need clear roads with bright lines painted for them to show them where—and where not—to go."
Carter offers parents sound tips to create an environment for responsible tablet use. They include guidelines for:
- Spaces - Living room and kitchen are great. Bathroom and car? Not so great.
- Times - Afterschool for play and homework. Not during meals and bedtimes.
- Content - Clarify what is private and what is not.