Tips For Raising The iGen
The iGeneration, or iGen, kids, born between 1995 and 2012 are often characterized by their overuse of smartphones, social media, and technology. This overuse can bring about stunted communication skills, less-than-ideal conflict resolution abilities, lower emotional intelligence, lower self-esteem, less healthy intimate relationships, inappropriate relationship boundaries, and other lacking social skills. However, with good parenting tactics, parents can counteract these challenges and raise emotionally and socially developed Omaha girls and boys instead.
What Can Parents Do To Promote The Healthy Emotional-Social Development Of Their iGen Kids?
Have a family technology agreement in place.
What should this include? An effective, healthy technology agreement should include not using phones and devices during mealtimes, unplugging for at least a half hour before bedtime (this is a great time to read or listen to music and unwind from the day) or when people are visiting your home.
An added bonus to having a technology agreement in place is that, if kids are allowed feedback when the family is setting it up, there are less likely to be power struggles when it needs to be enforced. Collaboration is key here to achieving a healthy balance with technology.
If you need help with a family technology agreement, contact us. We can send you a download link for our template!
Encourage activities that are technology-free.
These activities can range for each family, and even for each individual in a family!
Depending on the interest(s) involved, you could focus on:
- Physical activity or sports
If you are looking for some specific tech-free summer activities for Omaha girls and boys, check out our blog post from a few weeks ago!
Another important tech-free activity is sleep. By keeping bedrooms tech-free, or at least tech-free around bedtime and overnight, you can reduce distractions that may lead to insomnia and this healthy sleep can increase emotional-social coping skills in teens and adults alike.
Use teachable moments to increase emotional-social intelligence in relationships.
If you decide, as a family, to keep your dinnertime tech-free, this is a perfect time to discuss different shows or events that happened throughout the day. This time also lends itself to “teachable moments” where parents can use a real-life example from that day to discuss relationship dynamics (friendship, family, or romantic) and help teach teens how to resolve any interpersonal challenges that may come up or to set healthy personal boundaries.
At SGS, we recommend using every opportunity to demonstrate empathy with others. We encourage all parents to teach openness and acceptance.
Provide positive mirroring to promote positive identities and promote self-esteem and healthy self-confidence. Focus on their strengths and character gifts, as opposed to their physical attributes. (Examples: “You are a wonderful leader,” “you are caring,” etc.)
This is actually good for both parents and teens. So many times in our workshops, we have Omaha girls and boys mention to us that they wish their parents spent less time on phones, too. If you encourage mindfulness practices and “being in the moment” to reduce your distractions, you are much more likely to encourage real connections.
Make sure to model the behaviors you want to see in your child.
As parents, we always have to remember that our kids see everything we do. We’d love it if they’d just hear what we’re saying and do that, but let’s face it, they often don’t.
If you want them to get off of their phones and pay more attention in conversations with “real people,” then make sure you’re doing that, too.
If you want them to demonstrate more empathy with others, make sure they see you demonstrating empathy toward others.
Smart Girl Society, Inc., is an Omaha-based nonprofit working to educate and inspire smart & confident girls, women, & families. Through educational workshops, civil outreach programs, and technology & social media research, we work with girls, parents, & educators on the positive effects of social networking. We educate Omaha girls and boys, as well as students across the nation, on online safety and how to avoid becoming a target of sextortion. We also inspire action for students to focus on their personal brand development, leadership, educational opportunities, and healthy social skills. Interested in learning more? Check us out!