8 Essential Habits for Raising Responsible and Empathetic Children in the Digital Age

There's no doubt that today's kids are growing up in an increasingly digital world. They're surrounded by screens at home, school, and on the go, so it's important to make sure they don't lose sight of the real world. As a parent or caregiver, you know there are lots of ways you can help keep your child safe online—but what about teaching them how to be a good person? That's where these 8 essential habits come in.

Be a role model.

You can be a role model for your child, but you have to be careful not to be too preachy. Your kids will likely tune out if you constantly tell them what they're doing wrong and how they should be acting. Instead, try being a positive example of good behavior. If your child sees that you're kind and considerate in real life, they'll understand that it's important not only because it's the right thing to do but also because it makes people around them happy.

Be your child's friend and mentor.

In the digital age, it's easy to become a friend instead of a parent. But when we do that, we're not doing our children any favors. Instead of being their friends, we should be their guides and mentors--someone who helps them navigate their way through life by teaching them how to deal with emotions and feelings in healthy ways, how to solve problems in positive ways (instead of just avoiding them), how to communicate effectively with others (rather than just ignoring them).

You still need boundaries as much as ever before; they still need discipline; they still need guidance from an adult who cares enough about them not just now but also years down the road when these habits are ingrained within themselves as well as within society at large."

Have a family meeting about technology and set rules for everyone.

It's important to discuss your family's rules with your children before they are set. Kids should be part of the decision-making process, so they can understand why the rules are in place and feel like they have some control over them. By asking kids what their ideal rules would be, you'll get an idea of what kinds of restrictions will work best for everyone.

When it comes time for enforcement, consistency is key--if one kid gets away with breaking a rule because he or she has parents who aren't paying attention (or seem too busy), then other kids will follow suit. Be sure that all parents are on board with enforcing these new regulations so everyone knows exactly what is expected from them at all times!

Teach kids to be empathetic and compassionate online.

It's important to teach your kids the value of being respectful and kind when they're online. You can do this by letting them know that everyone has different opinions and beliefs, so it's better to respect those differences rather than try to change someone else's opinion.

You should also talk about the dangers of cyberbullying and what you would do if someone was being bullied or harassed by another person online. You can show them how it feels by having a mock conversation where one person is being mean, rude, and disrespectful toward another person (or group). This will help your child understand how inappropriate behavior makes people feel uncomfortable or upset--and why it's important not only for personal safety but also for building good relationships with others online.

Talk to them about their digital footprints, even if they aren't sharing anything personal on social media yet.

It's important to talk to your kids about their digital footprints, even if they're not sharing anything personal online. Explain the concept of a digital footprint: every time you use technology, you leave behind data about yourself. Ask them what they think it means for them and their friends when they post on social media or play games online. Then explain how they can protect their own privacy by changing their settings on apps like Facebook and Instagram (and making sure their parents are doing the same). This will help them understand that it's not just other people who can see what we post--it's also companies like Facebook who collect our data so they can sell ads based on our interests and behaviors.

When discussing these topics with children, keep in mind that younger kids may not grasp all of this yet; instead of talking specifically about "digital footprints," focus more broadly on protecting personal information by keeping passwords private and deleting cookies when browsing websites where no account is required (like news sites).

Help them create healthy habits around apps and games.

You may have heard that the average American teenager spends nine hours a day on their phone, and you might be wondering how that's possible. It's not just that kids love their devices; it's also because we as parents give them all kinds of ways to use them--and for many of us, that includes letting our kids play games.

But before you let your child download another app or fire up his favorite game on your smartphone, there are some things you should know about how games affect children's brains and bodies.

Encourage them to be creative with their devices, and teach them how to use them safely so they can stay connected without losing themselves in their screens all the time.

In our digital world, children are exposed to technology at a very young age. In fact, the average child in the U.S. spends over seven hours per day with screens (TVs and computers). And while that may seem like a lot of time spent on electronics, it's actually less than what many parents think: A recent survey by Common Sense Media found that 65 percent of parents think their kids spend more than 10 hours using electronic devices daily!

While some studies show that excessive screen time can lead to negative health effects such as obesity and depression in children--and even adults--other studies have shown benefits from using technology in moderation. For example, one study found that kids who use smartphones for games performed better academically than those who didn't play games on smartphones at all.

Since there hasn't been much research yet about how much screen time is too much for kids under 5 years old (or even older ones!), we recommend keeping an open dialogue with your child about his or her use of technology so you can help them make informed decisions about their own usage habits going forward

It's ok to have rules when it comes to technology use

The fact that we have rules for our children is not a sign of weakness or an indication that we can't trust them. In fact, it's quite the opposite: setting limits on their technology use shows us that we care about their well-being and future happiness. If you want your kids to be responsible with technology, then it's important to set clear boundaries around what is acceptable and what isn't--and then enforce those boundaries consistently over time so they learn how they should behave when using this new form of media in their lives.

Rules should be age appropriate so that they can understand why something may not be ok at one age but would be fine at another (for example, asking someone on social media before posting something). Enforcing rules consistently means following through each time there's a violation instead of letting things slide once or twice before deciding it's too hard/annoying/time consuming etc.


As a parent, it can be difficult to know how best to approach the topic of technology and social media with your kids. But if you keep these tips in mind, you can help ensure that your children are equipped with the tools they need to navigate this new world with their heads held high.

Stanley Bawalan