Is a digital device in your child's future this holiday season?

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Morning Zen Guest Blog Post ~ Amy Williams

kidscellphonesWhether you are dusting off your stockings to hang by the chimney with care or perfecting the art of frying golden latkes, giving gifts is a staple of the holiday season for many people. As families draw together, cherish traditions, and celebrate their beliefs it is easy for our children to devise a wish list of gadgets and toys they dream of unwrapping. For many parents, they are noticing that at the top of the present list is often a form of technology in the guise of a digital device.

Unwrapping Technology: Is My Child Ready?
Smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, and more might be a pixelated holiday dream for your child. It is believed that 75 percent of children aged under eight have access to devices classified as “smart” and 78 percent of teens possess their own cell phones. Unfortunately, many children and teens are not developmentally ready or responsible enough to have the world at their fingertips via wi-fi and social media.

If a child is not ready for the responsibility that comes with receiving digital devices this holiday season, their anticipated gift might download a whole new set of problems and heartbreak during the new year. Before gifting a new device, ask yourself the following questions:

6 Ways To Ring In A Happy Holiday Season
If you were able to say “yes” to the above questions with little hesitation, then your child might be ready to handle a new digital device. For many parents, it is important to understand the impact of allowing our kids a passport to digital citizenship. We need to realize that high levels of connectivity open our children up to a world of online predators, disappearing messages, cyberbullies, and sexting opportunities.

Here are six tips to help our children enjoy their digital devices this holiday season:

All parents, regardless of what holiday we celebrate, want their child to safely chat and snap selfies with their friends long after the dreidels and decorations are packed away. If your child is begging for a new digital device this holiday season, taking a few precautions today will ensure many more happy celebrations to come.

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Congressman Paul Tonko represents New York’s 20

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amyAmy Williams is a journalist and former social worker, specializing in teen behavioral health. She believes that, in our digital age, it's time for parents and educators to make sure parents and students alike are educated about technology and social media use. You can follow her on Twitter.


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