Parenting the Heart of a Digital Native

We had a little “incident”. My daughter downloaded an app that I told her not to go. It was innocent, and she wasn’t harmed in any way. You know, the equivalent of sneaking a cookie when I had told her not to, but deceptive nonetheless.

I'm extremely proud of my girl because she confessed (as if I wouldn't of known anyway when I read the app download notification email from Amazon). I’m thankful that she responded to the conviction of her wrongdoing and was confident to come to me about it.

This got me thinking about how I'm parenting my little techie's heart.  You see, the foundational issue wasn’t the “the screen” or the Internet. The issue was her heart and character.  She was tempted, she was disobedient, and she was responsive to her conscience, much like I am at some point every day.

We are the first generation of parents (aka "digital immigrants") raising "digital natives". We still don’t know quite how to handle tech. We need to get rid of our fears and ignorance about tech so that our kids can develop healthy attitudes about this tool that isn’t going away.

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I am a strong advocate of active, intentional and heart-level parenting. Mike & I chose to be “those parents” over 17 years ago. It’s been hard work and we’ve made many, many mistakes over the years. But the fruit of that work is worth it.

My friend, it is so important for us to be active and intentional as we guide in our kids’ digital lives.  We are the first generation of parents (aka “digital immigrants”) raising “digital natives”. We still don’t know quite how to handle tech. We’re out of our comfort zone and tend to get blinded to the fact that tech can be a really good and helpful thing. And when there is a tech-related, we tend to blame it on “those devices”, not the heart and character of the person using the device. [Related Post: A Mom's Greatest Struggle in This Tech-Driven World ]

We need to get rid of our fears and ignorance about tech so that our kids can develop healthy attitudes about this tool that isn’t going away.

Some parents would argue, “But what if my child gets addicted to computers and video games?” That is a valid question. I've seen the effects of tech addiction in my own extended family. But guess what… I’ve also seen the effects of food addiction. Am I keeping my kids away from food because they might become addicted to it? No, I’m teaching them how to make healthy choices about food,  just like I need to guide them towards healthy tech habits. [Related Post: 5 Tips for Healthy Tech Habits in Your Family]

I share this not to discourage you or to point out the shortcoming our generation, but to encourage you. You're not alone. The struggle is real…not just in your home, not just with your child. There are other families trying to figure out how to raise digital natives.

Truth be told…I’m not an expert in raising tech healthy kids (ummm..remember that little story I started with). I know what works in my home (and *cough* what doesn’t). I know how I choose to parent my children. And, I know that I know it's crucial to be actively involved in my kids’ digital lives.

Here's a little challenge for you… the next time you notice your child engrossed in “a screen”, join them. Ask them to explain what they're doing. Invite them to show you how they do what they are doing. Praise their creativity or their skill. Show genuine interest. And, I betcha', your child will feel loved!

To learn more about how things go down in our home, check out these other posts here at Techie Homeschool Mom.

  • Are you concerned that your children are wasting time on electronics? Use these three questions to determine if screen time is productive or not.
  • The legalistic rules I had made about computer usage led to strained relationships and unrest. I knew that I needed to stop micro-managing my kids' screen time and to teach them to self-govern their tech habits. I needed to give more freedom to have more peace in our home. Read to discover how giving our kids unlimited tech time has been the solution to our problem. Plus, download a copy of our Unlimited Tech Time Guidelines.
  • I was concerned that my teen daughter was spending too much time on Pinterest. Then I checked out her boards and I was surprised. Find out what I discovered.
  • Reading eBooks doesn't seem natural to me. So, should I keep my kids from reading eBooks? Absolutely not! Read to find out why.


How about coming to hang out with me at Techin’’ Your Homeschool, a community of digital immigrants homeschooling digital natives. We have daily discussions about all things tech and homeschooling. Plus, we share online homeschooling resources. You definitely won’t feel alone if you join us.

 I'd love to know what thoughts/ideas this post has spurred for you. Leave me a comment to share and encourage others. 

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  • Have you ever considered social media sites as learning tools? Is social media a part of your homeschool lesson plans? Read to discover 6 reasons you should add social sharing to your homeschool.
  • I got this radical idea about summer screen time. Instead of figuring out how to keep the kids off the computer, what if we intentionally put our our kids on electronics? Find out how.
  • Meet Amber, a techie homeschool mom, and be inspired to add more digital learning to your homeschool.
  • Can you confidently direct your kiddos about the legal use of digital media in their learning projects so that they are not stealing someone else's property? Are you teaching them how to be an upstanding digital citizen? Read this guide to help your homeschoolers understand the rules about using online images in student projects.


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