Kids between the ages of 6 and 23 fall into the category of people who are now referred to as Post-Millennial or iGen. IGen is a recent name given to any one born between 1995 and 2012. They are about 24% of the American population and the most diverse in the history of America. They are also the most digitally connected and smartphone addicted generation. They were born after the internet has been commercialized and each of them will enter adolescence in the age of the smartphone. As parents, we face many challenges in parenting these kids in the digital age.
Characteristics of iGen
The iGen generation are marked by a few things and they are highlighted below
They are smartphone natives
According to a report, about 80% of iGens are smartphone users.
They are always online
IGens are spending massive amount of time online. They are virtually never offline.
They are secularizing
About one fourth of iGens do not attend religious activities or practice any form of private spirituality
They perceived one another through fractured bites
They connect and learn about one another digitally and in fragments
They are woke
IGens are socially awoke as they can stand up for anyone who is vulnerable and they can rally as seen in such rallies like March for Our Lives and the National School Walkout Day
Tips for iGen parents
Delay social media as long as possible
Social media poses a dilemma. Social media is where teens look for life and it is what costs them their lives. Parents must help their kids see this paradox. Social media, unwisely used, will cost them something precious.
Delay smartphones as long as possible
Once parents introduce their child to a smartphone, with texting and apps like Instagram and Snapchat, parental controls are virtually futile. Kids can be exposed to all kind of materials like nude selfies and sexualized conversations and the parent may never know. So, resist the pressure to give your kid one and don’t leave old phones around.
Keep screens out of bedrooms
Always make this a rule in your home. From 8pm to 8am every day, impose a no TVs, gaming devices, laptops, tablets or phones. Break off the endless social demands, gaming addiction and preserve sleep patterns.
Write a smartphone contract
When you move to the smartphone, write a contract of expected behaviors, curfews, family expectations that comes along with the phone. Have your child share their login information and get familiar with steps to temporarily pause or deactivate the phone
Redeem dinners, car rides and vacations as a family
Ensure you enforce a no phone rule during dinner times, family car rides and family vacations . Unhurried time together especially during dinner is very important because it provide an opportunity for parents to get to know their kids. It also afford parents to interact with their kids and ask questions like, what happened at school? This fellowship is carried over in more intense way on family vacations.