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Listening to our kids is more important than ever

by | Apr 29, 2020 | Parenting tips

The 9-year-old star of our TV campaign shares her experience of being a digital native on lockdown

It’s time we talked

Our children can be our greatest teachers, especially when it comes to the online world. Things move so fast when it comes to tech so it can be hard for us to keep up with the latest apps and what’s trending online. But at Qustodio we believe that’s why it’s more important than ever before to keep talking to our kids about digital safety and wellbeing. Our children may be digital natives, but that doesn’t mean that they’re experts.

That’s why late last year we launched our “It’s Time We Talked” Campaign, fronted by Cloe Costa – a Hollywood star in the making from Qustodio’s homeland of Catalonia, Spain. Our digital parenting experts always recommend that Parental Control apps like Qustodio be used alongside a healthy two-way conversation around both the benefits and risks of the Internet. Having access to the whole world is a big deal. Children of all ages need guidance and ongoing support to learn how to process their digital experiences and to develop safe and healthy media habits. As Child-Psychologist Dr. Nicole Beurkens says: “It is not appropriate to simply hand children devices and expect them to know how to navigate the world of digital media”.

COVID-19 – a digital turning point

There have been never-ending conversations recently on the accelerated digital transformation that is taking place as learning, work, and socializing all move online. We’ve already talked about how Coronavirus could trigger a screen time pandemic or a surge in awareness of digital wellbeing. The choice really is in our hands and it’s up to us as parents to keep the lines of communication open with our children now, more than ever before. And that means really listening to what our kids have to say. Children -especially teens- have more social needs than adults so it’s especially important that they are able to maintain their friendships online. It goes without saying that education is paramount, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your family’s wellbeing. Realize that learning at this time doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) look like the average school day. For more expert advice on parenting during Covid, check out our Q&A webinar – Digital Parenting in Uncertain Times.

A new normal for everyone

Everyone’s talking about the future. What will the impact of COVID-19 be on our current global systems? What will the “new normal” look like? It’s so easy to get caught up thinking about what’s to come, it’s easy to forget where we are now. If there’s one thing children are truly expert in, it’s living in the moment. We wanted to find out how they are coping with these massive changes and the effects of the Corona crisis on their digital habits. We couldn’t think of anyone better to ask than Cloe. After all, with over 1 million views on Youtube, she’s already convinced a huge number of families that it’s time we talked about digital wellbeing!

Lockdown through the eyes of a child

Hi Cloe! Thanks for finding time to talk to us 🙂 Where are you at the moment?

Hello! I’ve been at home since March 12, the day before they closed all the schools.

What are some good things about staying at home – and what do you miss?

At home is the safest place to be right now, and I really love spending all day at home with my family. Most of all I miss seeing my friends and other members of my family, and not being able to do all my usual after-school and weekend activities. I even miss school!

Do you spend any time at all outside?

No. If you’re asking if I’ve left the house, definitely not!

Wow, that must be tough! So what are your favorite games and activities to do at home?

I really like watching TV series with my parents, practicing my gymnastics, doing Zumba classes, and drawing on my tablet.

Are you spending a lot more time online than usual?

Yes, I’m definitely spending more time online since the confinement started! More still if I include my school and extracurricular activities…

We’ve got to be as positive as we can because it helps to make the situation easier to cope with.

Ah yes, school! How’s that going? What is it like to attend “virtual school” at home?

I really like it! I think it’s a faster and more fun way of learning. My parents helped me during the first few days when I didn’t understand the new processes. We’re all learning very fast, both teachers and the students!

Are there some things you’ve been using the internet for that you didn’t before? Have you discovered any cool new apps or games?

I really like the drawing app Procreate – you can create some really original art with it! I’ve also discovered Zoom for doing online classes – it’s so cool to be able to see all my classmates’ faces! I sometimes play Roblox, too which is an online game.

You seem to be adjusting really well to the lockdown Cloe! How are your friends and family doing?

In the beginning, some of my family were still going to work, but not now. Nearly everyone is working from home now. My friends are in exactly the same situation as me and have been at home since the first day of quarantine (March 12).

I’m glad you’re all keeping safe! It’s quite a difficult time for everyone. What things do you do to stay happy every day?

We’ve got to be as positive as we can because it helps to make the situation easier to cope with. It’s sad because I’m sure there will be other families who will find it harder because COVID-19 and the confinement may have made things really difficult for them.

Yes, it’s true that some people are having a very tough time. What advice do you have for surviving lockdown and making the days a little easier?

Make sure you do something different every day, whether it’s crafts, gymnastics, video calling your friends or writing a letter to someone you haven’t seen for a while. Take advantage of the extra time – and try not to go too crazy!

Those are some amazing tips, thank you so much, Cloe, for sharing your wisdom!

Make sure you do something different every day… Take advantage of the extra time – and try not to go too crazy!

Inspired to start a conversation on Digital Wellbeing?

Have Cloe’s wise words piqued your interest in your family’s online habits? If you want to start implementing some changes we have a wealth of online resources right here on the blog. We recommend downloading our free Digital Wellbeing Report, then start by setting up some easy-to-implement screen time limits for the whole family.

Experts agree that it’s crucial for parents to model healthy digital behaviors themselves, so check out our 4 Simple Steps to Digital Wellness. Finally, to help you use Parental Control software to your best advantage right now, learn how to Stay Screen Savvy with Qustodio’s Stay at Home Superheroes!

You can watch Cloe’s message to parents below – just make sure you turn captions on to see the English subtitles!