First, it was the interactive pop-up book that amazed your little one who pulled, touched and felt the pages. Next, here comes the animated, interactive storybook that fascinated him as he simultaneously found his voice. Then, they discover your smartphone and instinctively know exactly which apps yield games and movies. Ding, ding, ding! Parents immediately realize that digital media and the Internet are valuable educational tools that aid in the child’s development.

The aha moment must be met with a plan by parents to manage their children’s use of technology, because the way they communicate, share information and interact with one another will begin taking shape. Parents must ensure their children use the Internet responsibly.

The World Wide Web is undoubtedly a great tool to reference when completing homework assignments and for research. There’s a flip side, it also must be used responsibly when participating in leisure activities like chatting, posting on social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and playing video games. The young users are socially immature and inexperienced, leaving them vulnerable to online predators and cyber-bullying.

Their social and emotional development is your responsibility. Establish the rules early. Ensure they understand what should remain private. Children should spend more time dialoguing with family than online. If you minimize risks early, you will be at ease when your children are online and it won’t be necessary to stand over their shoulders. Once they’ve been provided all the proper tools, it’s endless what’s in store: improvements in education, civic engagement and their participation in the next wave of digital revolution. –yvette caslin