(StatePoint) In today's digital world, connecting with your children goes beyond face-to-face communication. While nothing beats in-person quality time, on-the-go lifestyles don't always allow for it.
But physical distance when you or your kids are out of the house shouldn't present too much of a communication barrier between parents and kids, say the experts.
"These days, most children are fairly comfortable using communication technologies. Capitalizing on your children's tech prowess can help you stay connected," says Dr. Eric Klopfer, Learning Expert for VTech, a maker of age-appropriate and developmental stage-based electronic learning products for children.
Whether you're at the office, a frequent business traveler or simply want to keep in touch with your kids while they're away from home, Klopfer says there are a few things to keep in mind when communicating with your children electronically:
It's crucial to find technologies that are age-appropriate, safe and easy-to-use. Many messaging services are restricted to those over the age of 13. And messaging services with fewer restrictions can present a hassle for parents who want to ensure that kids are only corresponding with approved contacts.
Luckily, emerging technologies designed for a younger audience are addressing these concerns. For example, VTech Kid Connect, a new communication app for the company's children's learning tablet, InnoTab 3S, features tablet-to-mobile capabilities, making staying in touch both safe and easy. It eliminates the need for setting up a complicated restriction system, which can be a big relief for parents questioning the safety of their kids online. More information and a demonstration can be found at www.vtechkids.com/kidconnect.
For parents skeptical about the impact that texting and electronic messaging will have on children's written communication skills, Klopfer assures that with care, you can use the technology to actually improve literacy.
"Through time, great minds have worried about the impact that emerging technologies would have on human intelligence," says Klopfer. "While these advances -- from the printing press to the Internet -- have certainly changed the way we communicate, when used appropriately, their impact is immensely positive."
Encourage kids to develop their writing skills while communicating with you electronically by paying attention to their spelling and grammar. And you can set a good example by avoiding excessive acronyms and emoticons, and including great vocabulary words into messages.
It may seem paradoxical, but in this fast-paced, tech-driven age, keeping kids and parents connected is getting easier.