Generation Z kids are kids born in the mid-90s to present. They were born into an era when the Internet is everything, smartphones are everywhere and lives are lived through apps. Some people refer to them as ‘The Silent Generation’, ‘The iGeneration’, ‘The Google Generation’ etc.
You might have wondered why your kids are always on their smartphones. What exactly is wrong with them that they just cannot put their devices down for a moment? They virtually live on their gadgets. You cannot change that about them because that is who they are. You will get some online parenting tips in this article to ease your worries.
Parenting in the Past
Similarly, the ways our children are parented today have also shifted. The parents in the previous generation believe that the best way to raise their children is to prepare them for their future, such as providing the best education and equipping them good character habits. Many believe in purely setting strict rules and failing to follow them would result in corporate punishment such as disciplining with a cane, feather duster or ruler.
Also, parents were not expected to provide any explanation for the punishments. Likewise, my mother showed her love to my sibling and I by helping us to narrow the best options, and providing for our needs. Her goals were to ensure that we would not become spoilt, disobedient or self-centered. We were taught to be diligent to the tasks given, to be respectful to one another and to be honest. Failing to follow would often result in a painful session of caning.
Parenting the Generation Z Kids in a new era
Many families today place more focus on positive reinforcements to ensure good behaviours instead of corporate punishment. This could be due to parents being more educated and more aware of parenting resources derived from researchers and psychologists. Dr Diana Baumrind, a developmental psychologist in the 1960s did a study on understanding how parents can impact a child’s development. According to recent article published by The New York Times, she suggested an optimal parent is one who is involved and responsive, who sets high expectations but respects her child’s autonomy.
Some moms like Jamie, believes that corporate punishments still have a place in parenting today. On top of other disciplining methods like time-out and reasoning, she still canes her daughter Hailey who is three this year. “It is still the most effective disciplining tool. I would explain the reason for disciplining her and caning will be my last resort.”
Other parents on the other hand, believe in avoiding corporate punishments. They would use other disciplining methods such as removing of privileges, encouragement and providing rewards as positive reinforcements. Like Jamie, my husband and I find that it is necessary to implement corporate punishments gently and appropriately, to enforce discipline when needed.
Characteristics of Generation Z Kids
If you are a parent of a teenager, you might be in the Generation Y era. The Generation Y members were born between 1977- 1994. They were raised differently. Had limited access to the Internet or even a smartphone. They went to the library for information. Most likely grew up with just Facebook as social media account, cable TV channels and everything was done mostly face to face.
The Generation Z kid is into social media but does not use Facebook much. They prefer to use Snapchat and Whisper. Privacy is a key thing for them. These kids can multi-task. They may be talking to you while posting a picture on Instagram, doing their research assignment and texting a friend at the same time. They are tech savvy. Information is at their figure tips and time is of an essence to them. If they ask you a question and you delay in answering them in a timely manner, they Google it. That is why some call them The Google generation. Their attention time is 8 seconds. They are diverse, embrace everything because of information being readily available, shaping their thinking and character.
In general, the Gen Z is very adept when it comes to web-search. They often self-educate themselves from Pinterest and YouTube. From baking cakes to upgrading a computer operating system without hustle.
Truths about Parenting the Generation Z Kids
- We still don’t know if we should let our kids play videogames, but we tend to recognize that we are denying our kids technology at our own risk. Studies are mixed as to the effects of technology on child development, but one study suggests that children who play an hour of video games a day are more social, less hyperactive and happier than their non-video game playing peers. The caveat — the study also found that playing more than three hours a day is harmful.
- We want to go back to the days of free-range parenting, but we are scared. Some of us are scared because the world seems far more dangerous than it did 20 years ago, but many of us fear our overprotective government or the judgment of other parents more so than we fear the hypothetical evil stranger lurking at the park. Either way, we end up keeping the kids inside a lot. We seek a happy medium that alleviates our fears and empowers the kids to explore their world outside the shadow of our watchful gaze.
- Our kids feel entitled, and we don’t know what to do about it. This one isn’t new. I bet our parents worried about this, too. But parents today are caught between trying to provide an idealistic childhood all while raising a generation of authentic, morally responsible citizens. In an era where my television can play anything the kids want to watch with a moment’s worth of programming, it is hard to teach kids that the good things in life are worth waiting for. It’s no wonder kids don’t see patience as a virtue.
Enforcing Online Rules
The Internet is a great resource for kids. But it comes with its huge dangers. Parent have some dos and don’ts in the physical world (street) like:
- Don’t talk to or accept anything from strangers,
- Don’t tell anyone personal information about yourself,
- Come straight home from school,
- Don’t start fights,
- We need to meet your friends etc.
These need to be enforced in the digital world too. There are about 750,000 child predators online every day. Taking advantage of kids by pretending to be their friends. Kids may think they have all the knowledge when it comes to the Internet but they do not have the wisdom on how to keep themselves safe.
Negative Effects of the Internet
Cyberbullying is on the rise and only 10% of kids tell an adult about it. According to statistics, it’s the number 1 cause of child depression and anxiety.
Currently, online adult contents just pop up ‘accidentally’ when searching the Internet for common information and these kids are being exposed to them. This in the long term affects them negatively – in the way they behave sexually.
With the above dangers, it is imperative parents protect their Gen Z kids. Parents need to talk with their kids about the dangers of the Internet and being responsible with how they use it.
Kids need to be taught not to include private information such as phone number and address or school name in chat rooms or online friends. They should never accept files or send them to people that you don’t know.
Parents should know who their children’s friends are within these environments.
Using the CRT Parental Control App
CRT parental control app is a perfect app for you to help you monitor your kid’s online activities.
You will be able to see each website your kid visits and bookmarks with the browser history feature. This helps you know their online activities. It also monitors most social media messaging apps the Gen Z kid uses hence you could detect and prevent your kid from being cyberbullied or possibly if there is any sexting going on. The CRT is a complete package for today’s parent. You can check our features page for details.