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Navigating the Digital World

Methods to ensure your child can navigate through the digital world safely

Expert: Dr. Devorah Heitner

Positive Parenting Conference by: A Fine Parent


What do you do when you find your child being sneaky and then lying about it? 

Kids need us to be their mentors when exploring the digital world.


Here is a practical example:

A child uses their iPad or phone past their cut off time.

As a parent, you need to talk to them. 

“It looks like you’re trying to be sneaky.”


Can your child come up with a solution?

“I see you are finding it difficult to stay in the cut off time, is more time something you need?”


Can you give 10 more minutes? Would splitting the 1 hour be more helpful? If it's a channel they can’t watch, chat and explain why. 

“I know you are a trustworthy child and I know you want to do the right thing, let’s talk about how we can resolve this.”


Did you know that google search engine is set to approximate 8th Grade level, which means that a child who is looking for any “answers” before the age of 14 should look for answers from other sources such as encyclopedias, books, etc.


Ages and stages of the digital world:

  1. Before allowing you child to use devices, read this post about "8 Signs Your Child is Not Ready For a Phone."

  2. Teach kids about the digital age and practice how to use devices in the digital age.

  3. Find out whats behind the need / want for a cellphone / device.

  4. Are they ready to walk home from school or spend time on their own?

  5. Are they independent?

  6. If your child is not showing signs of independence or any of the above markers then its not a good idea for them to have a cellphone


Tech challenge: Ask your child what is something that you do with your phone or computer that they wish you could change. This opens the conversation to exchange information, and opens up the opportunity to talk about a family safe word around technology.

eg. Your safe word may be “Screen monster”. When someone in the family finds that a member of them family is using too much screen time, they may use the safe word as a reminder to limit their time. You may just learn something from your child!

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Dr Devorah Heitner's



Today’s parents face more challenges than ever. Digital devices and technology in general have changed the way that we interact, and it has an undeniable effect on what we do as parents.

How do you feel about technology? Is it a positive or a negative?  Screenwise parents feel excited about the opportunities and confident about the challenges. The key is to learn how make use of the positives of digital devices, minimize the negatives—and to mentor our kids on good digital citizenship.

These are critical skills in their new digital world, so you can’t just opt out. We owe it to our kids to prepare them for the world they will inherit. But they need our mentorship as parents.

So, how Screenwise are you?


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