Joy and Edric Mendoza on Raising Different Kids in the Digital Age
Writer, teacher, and mom to six kids, Joy Mendoza shares foolproof tips that she and her husband Edric have followed over time, most of which lead back to the proper and productive use of the internet.
The internet plays a big role in Joy Mendoza’s life. After all, she’s a mother of six children, all of whom she homeschools. And on top of that, she spreads the message of unconditional love on her blog Teach With Joy.
However, she knows that the internet can cause a bit of a challenge at home. With six children who have different needs and interests, there’s often trouble when it comes to getting the strongest WiFi connection at home. “There’s no way to really make sure they won’t have conflict. But having some boundaries helps, as well as awarding privileges for kindness and sharing,” advises Joy.
While it does need the occasional confiscation of gadgets (as it is the source of the conflict), Joy’s boundaries guarantee that this is the last resort. Additionally, Joy and her husband Edric make use of PLDT Home’s WiFi Mesh System so everyone can enjoy stronger WiFi anywhere at home. The technology is designed to complement their internet’s existing router to deliver a strong WiFi signal even in areas within their home that the router cannot reach.
The WiFi Mesh system is ideal for the Mendozas who live in a multi-story home due to the multiple rooms with thick walls as well as multiple floors. With all eight family members staying in different rooms on different floors, separated by thick walls and ceilings, each one still gets equal access because there are no WiFi dead spots.
Set clear boundaries on internet and gadget use
With PLDT Home powering the whole family’s internet activity, Joy Mendoza established some rules and boundaries to ensure everyone gets their fair share. “We have some pretty clear boundaries when it comes to gadget use. The first one is age-related. Before the age of 13, our kids don’t get their own gadgets. They have to share with their siblings. Furthermore, they aren’t allowed to have social media accounts until they are older.”
Considering how easy it is for children and even adults to lie on social media, parents know that sometimes they should do a bit of hand-holding. “Even with apps for our elementary-aged kids, we ask them to get permission before downloading apps or researching online because they still need some hand-holding and protection. Gadget use is highly supervised at earlier ages.”
On top of this, PLDT Home’s WiFi Mesh System allows Joy and Edric to have full control of their home’s WiFi network thanks to easy management and parental controls. Its easy management and parental controls allow the parents to filter online content for their children, track the websites they visit, control when they access the internet and restrict the total time they spend online each day.
Joy knows that her more focused parenting will eventually bear fruit, especially when they grow older. “We also have a character-related boundary. Emotional, spiritual, and spiritual maturity must precede the privilege of navigating the online space. As our kids get older, we don’t micromanage what they do online. We tell them, ‘We trust you.’”
And finally, they have the traditional boundary: no phones at the table. “We respect each other by being present and engaged when sharing a meal.”
Make sure your kids know the difference between good use from abuse
While the internet offers so many benefits, it can be difficult to distinguish productive use of the internet versus abusing gadgets. Joy adds, “Sometimes, the kids take longer than usual while communicating with friends, and maybe that’s ‘abuse,’ but most of the time they are busy doing analog activities. Homeschooling keeps them busy, as well as sports, business ventures, hobbies, art, ministry, having friends over, and more.”
When kids become teens, parents might find them spending more time with their peers than with family. While it’s quick and easy to blame the internet, Joy encourages and invites parents to reflect on one’s relationships and interactions with their children instead. “I often tell parents, ‘At the end of the day, all kids long to have a good relationship with their parents.’ But if you and I are unpleasant, negative, nagging all the time, exasperating, and generally absent in their lives, our kids will prefer their phones, gadgets, hobbies, and friends.
Just like how the internet provides and creates connections, it’s the responsibility of parents to do the same beyond the screen. “We enjoy the outdoors like taking walks or trekking as a family. We also play sports together like badminton. And the kids enjoy strategy board games, doing arts and crafts, or we do movie nights. Occasionally, we will eat out, sing together, garden, go to the movies, or take a trip somewhere. But I think the keyword is ‘together.’ We find as many points of convergence as possible so we can share activities and build memories and connections.”
Complement digital pursuits with bonding activities offline
In building a loving, healthy, and joyful connection, Joy shares that the system, style, and goal must match. “The style should be a compliment to the goal. Furthermore, it’s the principles or the systems that count. I can have a good goal and call myself traditional or progressive or modern, but if I don’t have the right systems in place, my parenting goals won’t be achieved.”
There are the usual Bible studies and date nights on Thursdays. Both these methods preach Joy’s message of maintaining a healthy relationship with the internet and with those in real life. “Love is a commitment to an imperfect person for their highest good, which often requires sacrifice. That’s a definition I remember my parents gave me. Depending on the context (marriage or parenting), it’s about choosing patience, kindness, humility, forgiveness, honesty, and hope even when you don’t feel like it.”
Keep the internet as an avenue of creation and connection
While everyone is bound to fight over the internet at some point, Joy Mendoza shares a perspective that parents can share and teach their kids to lessen the tug-of-war. “Be aware of what your kids are doing online, whom they are connecting with, and what purpose they have for being online. If those three check out in the positive, then that’s great! The internet is such a valuable tool for learning and growing. And the best way to utilize it is for the creation and connecting with others rather than mere consumption.”
Most especially as a content creator, teacher, and a mom of six, the internet makes sure that she can respond to the many important things in her life. “When I started to have a lot of kids, I needed to shift my priorities and attention towards raising them. This meant less time outside of the home and working from home rather than at an office. The internet became the avenue for me to communicate marriage and parenting principles via videos or posts without neglecting my kids.”
And so long as PLDT Home continues to connect Filipino families like the Mendoza’s, it’s easy to spread joy and build meaningful relationships when using the internet at home.
Ace modern parenting just like Joy and Edric Mendoza by being mindful of your connections at home. Get a WiFi Mesh System for your home today when you may avail or upgrade to a Fiber Plus Plan here: pldthome.com/fiberplus. You may also avail of a WiFi Mesh system as an add-on to your existing plan here: pldthome.com/wifimeshsystem.
Words KEVYN GOHU CATINGUB
Photography VYN RADOVAN
Hair and Makeup BEBBOT S. PADILLA
Special Thanks to BEA MORAL