Raising a Connected Generation: Dr. Becky on Parenting in the Digital Age 🎥

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Dr. Becky’s advice on how to approach parenting in an era where kids have unprecedented access to the internet, social media, and all things digital.


NYT Best-Selling Author and Clinical Psychologist Dr. Becky Kennedy sat down with award-winning, Emmy-nominated journalist Poppy Harlow at our NYC Digital Parenthood Summit to offer parental guidance in the digital era, emphasizing that keeping kids safe is more important than keeping kids happy. The same way they can't have dessert until they finish their broccoli, children's use of technology must also be moderated.

5 key ways parents can set strong boundaries

Understand the difference between your child’s wants and needs. What purpose will technology serve them?

  • Does your child need the new social media app they’re asking for, or do they simply just want it? Rather than brushing off requests, have conversations with your kids about the purpose they believe this new app will serve in their life. There may be a valid reason for downloading it. 
  • Form a group of parents to have continuous conversations over the years. Parents will avoid making split-second decisions and feel sturdier when their children go to them.
    • Your kid will tell you that they are the only kid to not have a certain device, bedtime, or app. Years before this, when your kids are too young to negotiate, Dr. Becky recommends getting a group of parents together to discuss and plan how you all will approach these boundaries.
  • Encourage kids to “gaze-in” on themselves, rather than seeking validation on social media.
    • The way we parent our kids sets them up for how they approach the world. Naturally, people tend to focus on what everyone else is doing before considering our own values, interests, and feelings. By providing infinite access and constant exposure to other peoples’ lives, social media only adds to this pressure. It’s important that children build their confidence inside-out, rather than waiting to be told if they’re good enough.
  • Keep the parent-child relationship separate from the technology-child relationship.
    • Even as adults, it is difficult for us to put our phones down because it’s designed to make us unable to do that, so how can we hold our kids to such high expectations? The difference is that kids don’t make decisions for themselves, we do. So instead of setting ourselves up for frustration and children up for a power struggle or punishment, we must set a boundary that allows us to embody parental authority and tolerate our kids being upset.
  • Give yourself permission to change course.
    • If you were on a plane, you would want your pilot to give themselves permission to make an emergency landing if any flight information changed. Many parents disempower themselves by assuming what’s done is done. But good leaders, upon getting new information, change their plans to realign with the outcomes that they care about.

Watch Dr. Becky’s full panel here

Parents, wondering the best practices and where to begin with kids’ online safety? Check out this article.

"Being a parent is the most important and most difficult job in the world. And it is the only job we are given zero training and zero resources for."

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