“Vicarious Supervision: Preventing Problematic Behaviors Online through Positive Parent-Child Relationships”

Sometimes after one of my presentations I have parent tell me that “their kids are never getting anything (digital)” until they turn 18. I encourage them to think about their child’s digital life as a evolution from when they enter school till they graduate and are on their own. Let’s face it, this is a digital world and that’s not going to change. Our kids are digital natives and have never known a world without Snapchat, text messages and video chatting. At school they are immersed with laptops, digital lesson plans and exposure to technology daily. Our goal should be to parallel their digital experience to their biological development through the years. When they are young we should start with simple technology such as the Leap Frog products that are age appropriate. We want to slowly advance their technology uses, platforms and responsibilities as they grow older knowing that once they turn 18, they will have full access to any device, website and platform. By the time they are an adult, we should have exposed them to age-appropriate technologies and given them education, lessons, guidance and Vicarious Supervision over their digital lives. Research shows that the more involved a parent is with their digital kids, the more responsible their kiddos will be when they are not being supervised. 

Our friends at the Cyberbullying Research Center have created another great piece of data-driven information about parents involvement in their child(ren)s digital lives. Read more from Dr. Justin Patchin about their research on Vicarious Supervision and the results of being an involved and invested parent.