Help! My Child Wants to download another app!
“All my friends are on it” is the refrain heard in every household when our children beg for yet another app/game download. As parents we can feel manipulated, anxious, overwhelmed and sometimes even bullied into just saying ‘yes’. Here are five steps to holding your ground, each and every time.
1. Sorry, but yes, you have to ask Every.Single.Time.
Every app, every game, every download has to be asked for and vetted by you!
If they download something without your permission, your child will lose his/her phone for a period of time (to be decided ahead of time when you are establishing these groundrules).
2. Give them the affirmation nod!
When your child does come to you to ask permission for a new app/game, acknowledge and affirm them in a light easy way – “thanks for holding up your side of the agreement, it makes me feel like I can trust you”.
3. Know who you are dealing with!
All of our children are different – a child with ADHD is more likely to be addicted to gaming so holding back on downloading another game might be more important than letting them be on Whatsapp.
4. Dig a little deeper
It is important for them to get beyond ‘all my friends have got it’, or ‘ this is how we talk to each other’. Articulating our needs and wants (and differentiating between them) is a developmental life skill! They also need to be able to say what they think the downside of the app or game might be relative to their own personality. Wanting SnapChat when they already feel vulnerable socially might make matters worse not better – think those scenarios through together.
Do your own research remembering that age restrictions are often set by the creator company themselves. Ask other parents how the app or game is working out for other kids.
Check out our Klikd social media pages (Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn) where we are always uncovering the good, bad and ugly about every new social media app and trend.
5. Side Step the Power Struggle
If you think your child isn’t ready, a hard no, or expressing your fears will only result in battle! Explain that it isn’t just about assessing their readiness, but rather it is about developing their ability to cope when all the &^&^% goes down on the app. The conversation might be “for now, we are going to wait. I can help you get ready, let’s chat about it again in February. (be specific with your timeline). Let’s look at some other apps/games that we are both happy with”.
i) What is fun about this app – tell me what you love about it.
ii) What about this app or game makes you feel connected to others? It is important for your child to explain what connection means to them e.g. when I upload a dance on TikTok and my friends give me ideas on how to do it better, I feel like they care.
iii) Given that it is hard for you stop gaming when I ask you to or, given that you already find it hard when you find out the girls left you out when they went to Vida for milkshakes, what are some ways this app might turn out to be tricky for you?
iv) Do you think there are any parts to this game or app that could turn out badly? Avoid using the word ‘dangerous’ – it is a ‘white noise’ word for our children. Rather identify concepts like ‘stranger danger’, grooming, fake profile/catphishing
Sarah and Pam