“But Paul is allowed to!”. Perhaps this statement from your child sounds familiar. Other children, when it comes to media, are apparently always allowed much more, earlier and longer. And you probably also ask yourself certain questions: “At what point should I allow my child to use the first cell phone? How does it work with the settings? Which learning apps are good?”. Talking to other parents can be a good way to answer these questions. You can exchange ideas and experiences on media education together and consider whether you would like to set up similar rules on media use in the family.
This makes sense in many cases, but can also be annoying or problematic at times. Between door-to-door, during visits or in chat groups, e.g. on WhatsApp, parents seek and find opportunities to talk about their children’s media behavior, rules and experiences. Depending on the age of the child, the topics and questions are different. The need for mutual counseling is strongest where there is the most uncertainty; when the child is introduced to new media and their media needs change. A top topic, for example, is the question of the right time for the first cell phone. However, device access alone is not enough. It is important to have an exchange about what exactly child does with media, what works well and what rules apply.
Parent group chats are useful for many reasons, but can also become very annoying. Most parents are in one or more such chats to be informed quickly and easily and to communicate in a simple way about suggestions, wishes and ideas.
Such chats also have some disadvantages and potential for conflict. They are disorganized and sometimes full of trivia and misunderstandings. As different as parents are, they also deal with possible conflicts. Raising children is an irritant for some. Groups often create pressure to be there to have a say. Some parents are excluded from the outset.
The goal of the group should be clearly stated. Equally important are respectful treatment and tolerance among all participants. Remember: all parents use media in their own personal way and are therefore always role models for their child.
As a parent, you are responsible for your child’s media education, so you are in a boat with other parents where support can be very valuable. They must educate about rights and prohibitions and enforce basic rules of media use. Children cannot know many things and you as parents certainly do not know everything either. This makes the experiences of other parents on new trends, apps or media experiences all the more helpful. Due to the protected space without children and teachers, there is a confidential level where it is possible to discuss what children can and are allowed to do or what rules apply during mutual visits.
Parents can also join forces with the help of their children’s school or sports club to find common ground in media education. Seek discussion with the lead teacher from the time of enrollment or a change of school.
Also take advantage of school offerings such as parent-teacher conferences. In some federal states (currently in North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Bavaria), there are so-called parent talks, where parents can exchange ideas and receive further training in private.
Don’t be pressured to do everything right. Check out appropriate other places, such as here at parentguide.online.