AFTER working as a social-media manager, content writer and an online English teacher to Korean children, Cheryl Lynne Azarraga, 35, decided to work freelance to give more time to her two daughters.
The Internet has been a big help for the gregarious morena in balancing her act as a doting mother and part-time blogger.
Azarraga shares her experiences on digital parenting and other related stuff in an e-mail interview with the BusinessMirror.
How do you define digital parenting?
Cheryl Lynne Azarraga (CLA): Digital parenting can be defined as having the knowledge about the usage and limitations of digital media for our kids.
As a parent, it’s always best to guide our children on what application (app), social-media platforms and web sites to use. It’s about giving precautions and finding strategies on how to put restrictions on certain apps. [Digital parenting is] educating them verbally about the pros and cons of using the internet.
What are the challenges of parenting in the digital age?
Being a parent in the digital age can be both convenient and challenging. [My eldest] Zoey, who’s 13, usually spends her time watching YouTube videos [that are] mostly about fun facts, DIY tutorials and some music videos. She used to get very obsessed watching Pewdepie, and I told her to stop watching too much of it because this guy loves cussing, and I don’t like them hearing such inappropriate words. Apart from YouTube, she loves using Google for various research for her school homework, which I don’t have a problem with.
On the other hand, Savannah, 9, loves Minecraft so much that during weekends she’s glued all day on her tablet. I get frustrated sometimes whenever I caught them picking up their tablets, instead of doing their homework—and that’s where the challenge comes in.
I try to talk to them very openly and make sure that the messages are sent across.
Another [challenge today] is that it’s quite [difficult] to reinforce rules, especially being a single parent. They are not afraid of me so most of the time, they will just ignore my reminders and carry on with what they’re doing.
As much as possible, I stand firm when I should implement something. You don’t want your kids stumbling upon an adult web site, so the best thing is building an open and honest communication with them.
The good thing about parenting in the digital era is that it’s less stressful when it comes to helping them with their assignments. All information that they need are just a click away, unlike when I was young (and that was during the 1980’s), you should buy a lot of books to do research.
I have observed, as well, that millennial kids have the initiative to learn and discover things on their own.
How do you use the Internet in teaching your daughters in their studies?
Yes. Actually, what I do is a combination of sharing my experiences when I was a teen [with] some information from books and articles I have read from the internet.
To be honest, there’s a downside of depending too much on the Internet. Like my eldest, she is being too fascinated with Nazi Germany. She did research and read some information about it through the Net.
How do you balance parenting and career? As far as you are concerned, do you think the internet is a big help in parenting?
As a freelancer, parenting is manageable. It’s a matter of learning to prioritize, dividing your time for the needs of your kids, daily errands and work.
Keeping a planner or journal also helps as I can keep track of all my daily activities. Being a blogger has its advantages too. I often bring [my children] with me to some of my events, so I wouldn’t really have to worry about who’s going to look out for them.
The children and I practically live and breathe the Internet. It has always been our lifesaver. Our go-to whenever we want to know something, when we’re bored, when we want to communicate with friends, relatives and clients.
In fact, when I gave birth to my eldest daughter Zoey, I have always relied on YouTube videos and Google for information about parenting, like how to properly bathe a newborn, how to breast-feed the right way and how to overcome post-partum depression.
In your perspective, could you describe or explain how technology has aided you in helping your children in their assignments?
Technology plays a huge part in helping kids with their studies. Gone are those days when you should carry a heavy encyclopedia just to look for answers.
There are hundreds of apps and web sites you can go to with just a click of your mouse or a tap of your finger. Also, there are some schools where they provide tablets for their students, which are usually included in the tuition payment.
Teachers using PowerPoint slides during lectures are an advantage, too. It’s less of a burden to students. I don’t get stressed when my kids ask for help with their assignments and projects. It’s more like a walk in the park kind of thing [for them]. We all just rely on the internet!
Is the internet a big factor in your decision to go into freelancing and blogging?
Yes. It has been the easiest source of income to many. A lot of jobs online are posted in Jobstreet but it takes some skills to determine which ones are legitimate. Upwork and freelancer are just some of the sites I go to when looking for an online job.
I have been into freelancing for two years, and it has sustained our daily needs. I also like the idea of getting paid weekly from different clients.
I also like how you can learn different online jobs through free courses being offered out there like Udemy. I have learned building a web site, data mining and SEO optimization through these free courses. It’s an advantage if you know a few additional skills, because there are so many companies out there looking for these types of jobs.
As with blogging, this is more of a hobby to me than a job. Blogging has evolved in so many ways, and you can get paid just by posting and writing a review. You can also earn through ads and affiliate programs being offered by some companies too, like Lazada and Zalora.