**Empowering Parents in a Tech World: A Conversation with Titania Jordan**
Children today have unprecedented access to technology, allowing them to stay connected 24/7 and experience the world through social media platforms. However, this increased connectivity also exposes them to potential risks such as mental health problems and cyberbullying. Recognizing this, Titania Jordan, Chief Parent Officer at Bark Technologies, has dedicated herself to advocating for tech safety and providing guidance to parents. In this article, we explore Jordan’s insights and advice for parents navigating the challenges of parenting in a tech-driven world.
**Understanding the Importance of Parental Involvement**
As the 8th employee at Bark Technologies, Jordan has played a pivotal role in creating a subscription content monitoring platform for parents. Her experience as both a mother and an employee has given her a deep understanding of the overwhelming challenges parents face when it comes to navigating the online world. She emphasizes the importance of not turning a blind eye to the realities children face online, urging parents to stay informed.
**Promoting Online Safety Without Infringing on Autonomy**
Bark Technologies offers parents tools to monitor and filter out sexual content, online predators, and threats of violence. However, Jordan acknowledges the need to strike a balance between promoting online safety and respecting children’s autonomy. To achieve this, Bark Technologies provides personalization options that allow parents to choose the level of oversight they’re comfortable with. While there is no standard of care for addressing severe cyberbullying or exposure to harmful content, Jordan believes that increased awareness and communication can help mitigate these issues.
**Understanding the Research on Technology’s Impact**
To effectively address the challenges of parenting in a tech-driven world, it is crucial for parents to understand the research on the benefits and drawbacks of online connectivity. Excessive screen time has been linked to poorer mental and physical health, while access to screens before bed can disrupt sleep and decrease productivity and confidence. Furthermore, younger individuals, particularly young girls, are more susceptible to negative social comparison and diminished mental health. Recognizing these effects, leading organizations such as the American Psychological Association and the U.S. Surgeon General have issued advisories on the impact of social media.
**Opening the Lines of Communication**
To navigate the complexities of technology’s role in a child’s life, open and continuous communication is essential. Jordan encourages parents to engage their children in age-appropriate conversations about their online experiences, consumption habits, and emotional responses to online content. It’s crucial not to judge their experiences right away but to serve as a support system, helping them navigate challenges and complexities. Jordan emphasizes the importance of acknowledging that even well-behaved children may encounter inappropriate or suggestive content without proactively seeking parental guidance.
**Modeling Healthy Habits**
In a world where even adults struggle to put down their phones, modeling healthy habits is crucial. Children learn by example, so taking the time to engage with them without distractions and showing them the benefits of disconnecting from technology can be incredibly impactful. Establishing good sleep hygiene by shutting off screens before bedtime is one way to model healthy habits.
**Finding Teachable Moments**
When considering downloading a new platform or app, Jordan recommends having a conversation with your child about their expectations and potential risks. By discussing the pros and cons and potential negative aspects, such as the comparison trap and exposure to inappropriate content, parents can prepare their children for what they might encounter. It’s also important for parents to use their own social media experiences as teachable moments, discussing their emotions and intentions behind sharing certain content. This helps children develop critical thinking skills and have a more balanced perspective on social media.
In conclusion, parenting in a tech world presents unique challenges that require active engagement, understanding, and open communication. By staying informed, discussing the impact of technology with their children, modeling healthy habits, and utilizing teachable moments, parents can help their children navigate the online world more safely and responsibly.