“Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.” - Oprah Winfrey
Listen to your intuition. Your gut. That little voice inside of you.
We are often inundated with information about screen time, good apps, bad apps, parental monitoring, and social media concerns. While educating yourself and being aware of the potential vulnerabilities and dangers our kids face online is very important, it is also important to tune into your intuition.
Your decision making powers can be hindered when there is an overload of incoming messages from the peanut gallery. Parents always want to keep their kids safe and happy, and we do the best we can with the information we have. However, listening to your gut is a valuable resource that many of us often ignore.
If you have a feeling your child is spending too much time on their iPad and not enough time playing outside, you are probably right. If you think your tween is talking to strangers online and hiding it, you are probably right. If you think your teenager is showing violent behavior because of that role playing game, you are probably right. If you think you need to make changes for everyone's safety, you are absolutely right!
Privacy settings and parental monitoring apps should be used in conjunction with hands on parenting and not solely relied upon to filter out all the dangers lurking online. Keep the conversation going about internet safety and online kindness with your kids. The more they hear it and the more they are aware of what the vulnerabilities are, the more likely they will make smart choices when you aren't around.
While your closest 500 online friends often have your (and your child's) best interests at heart, your own personal experience and intuition will lead you in the right direction. So take the opinions, experiences, knowledge and lessons from others and use them to inform yourself. Then, make thoughtful, smart decisions based on knowledge and intuition.
Trusting and following your gut will also strengthen your intuition muscle. But, to do this, you must first unplug and listen to you own senses. When I feel bombarded with information and technology, I know that it's time to get away. It's time for a dog walk, a run in the river valley or a delicious latte in my comfy chair. The peanut gallery will be waiting but it's my decision I have to live with.
Trust your senses. You will feel better because of it.