Media personality Daphne Oseña-Paez was already a step ahead in the blogging game way before it became the fashion. “I grew up with the Internet. I rode that wave before Facebook even happened,” Daphne proudly claims.
Acknowledged as one of the country's pioneering social media influencers, Daphne has a thorough grasp of the digital technologies, which, in one way or another, has widened the generation gap.
Now that she's a full-fledged mom herself, Daphne acknowledges the struggles and realities faced by today's parents in dealing with their teen children. In an interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) during the Rabeanco event, Daphne says, “We are dealing with issues that other parents in another generation didn't have. You may think it's easier but it's actually harder.”
And no matter how hands-on she is as a mom, she knows that her children's exposure to gadgets is inevitable. So instead of totally restricting them, she and her husband Patrick Paez decided to regulate their usage. Here are Daphne's gadget rules: 1. Introduce them gradually. While her kids have Viber accounts, they know she checks their conversations because they are minors under her care. “They have protected private accounts. They don't do Instagram. I don't want them having a digital life outside their real life yet.”
2. You have to be very present in their lives, digitally. “My kids are not online on their own. I follow them, of course. I don't allow them to run around freely on the Internet,” says the mom. For Daphne, once you set your kid out on her own, it's the equivalent of letting them walk the sidewalks at night, alone.
Child safety is a real concern and it's something she deals with as UNICEF Philippines' Special Advocate for Children, where child safety is an issue online. “Parents have to be aware where their kids go, what they do.”
During summer, when her kids are mostly home, Daphne has found a way to keep their digital activities to a minimum.
3. Set the limit. Aside from imposing a “no gadget day,” her other rule is, “If you are low batt, it's over.” She elaborates, “I tell them, you can only charge your phone once a day. They need to budget their time and spend it wisely.”
4. The iPad or smartphone is not a nanny. It's a no-no to give them gadgets so the mom can do other things. She also advises having mirror apps so you can see what they are doing.
5. Strike a balance between real versus digital activities. She makes sure the kids try both digital and real-life expressions of the same discipline. “They ask me to post their work na artistic so I make sure they do not do just digital art, but real painting too. My kids read real books, write, play outside.”
She recalls an incident where her middle daughter Lily told her, “I don't wanna sweat.” Daphne's response was, “I was like, 'You are gonna sweat, so you are gonna go to the park and sweat.'”
Daphne also makes sure her kids have a life beyond the cyberworld. “They have playdates with friends, which means no gadget day.” She lets them do real baking and real swimming. “The way the world is going, it is so easy and connected, so the more you need physical contact and activity for real relationships”
6. Let them talk in real life. If the kids exist solely online, she says, “They will just have fights online. And they don't know how to resolve it. Talking to each other is different; they have to deal with real life pa rin. That is the job of the parent.”