Horizon, SmartphoneToday’s children are the first to grow up in the new digital age. It’s not uncommon to see toddlers and preschoolers navigating apps on their parents’ smartphones and tablets. Parents are understandably concerned about finding the proper balance between protecting their children and allowing them to explore the dizzying array of educational and entertaining digital media being developed specifically for kids.

To help both parents and children navigate the digital age successfully, Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook’s famous founder, has written a pair of helpful books: one for kids and the other for their parents. Aimed at parents, Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives discusses important issues such as creating tech-life balance, sharing personal information online, distinguishing between private and public information, and how to discuss these issues with your children. Written for children, Dot. addresses these issues from a child’s viewpoint in language children can understand.

In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Randi shared tips on raising children in the digital age based on her own experiences with her two-year-old son.

  • Depending on maturity, Randi believes most children are ready for their first smartphone between second and sixth grade. She noted that children with older siblings are frequently ready for this responsibility sooner.
  • Randi limits her son’s digital exposure and recommends that parents make using digital devices a special experience rather than allowing their children unlimited access.
  • Choose apps that are intellectually stimulating or that engage your child’s creativity rather than those that provide only passive entertainment.
  • Start talking about privacy issues early. Children need guidelines about what kind of information can be shared and with whom.
  • Model good tech-life balance for your children by setting side your digital devices regularly to concentrate on social and physical activities.

photo credit: IntelFreePress