Parenting Digital Natives

Updated: Mar 30



Parents in the current age are digital immigrants. Sure, you might have had computers in your childhood.  And sure, you may have taken up technology wholeheartedly and rely on it daily to connect with friends and do your job. But it has only been since 2008, when the first iPhone was released, that holding the internet in your hand wherever you were started to become the norm. Contrast your own developmental trajectory with that of children growing up right now, who have pretty much had “technology” like this their whole life… It’s definitely a different childhood experience from your own… that of being a “digital native”.  Parents of the current time are walking a new unforged path in being the first generation of digital-immigrant parents raising digital-native kids. It’s tough and there is a lot to learn.


A modern yet age-old problem

In saying that, I do want to point out that this may well be a modern day example of a universal and age-old parenting challenge. Every generation of parent has faced the challenge of trying to understand and respond to the world their children are growing up in, where their child’s world may be quite different to their own. Their child’s future will likely unfold quite differently from their own, growing up in different social, political, economical, and technological times. Another universal parenting challenge that this sits within, is that parents want to improve on the experience they had themselves and give their child a better life somehow.

Use values to guide you

I guess my point, without wanting to downplay the specific difficulties of parenting a digitally native child, is that it is not totally unique for parents to feel a chasm with the experience of the younger generation, be somewhat baffled by the world they see their children growing up in, and unsure of the best way forward to parent. I’m saying this to instil some hope and confidence that you are doing much that is helpful already. Since you have no crystal ball to predict the future world trends your child will face, you can at the very least think about what values should put any human in good stead to navigate whatever life throws at them. As a parent, this involves reflection on the values you yourself were brought up with, and sorting through them… considering what seems important to instil in your next generation… and what values may be time to question… or even to discard.  (Being a Parent Like You reader, I suspect that 'values guided parenting' is already important to you and that you are doing this kind of reflection as a parent). 

Since you have no crystal ball to predict the future world trends your child will face, you can at the very least think about what values should put any human in good stead to navigate whatever life throws at them.
Values Guided Parenting