Toral: Internet and modern parenting

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011


LAST week, I started reading the book “Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?,” which has a compilation of insights from several thinkers and edited by John Brockman.

I am not yet finished with the book but the insights I gained have brought about interesting questions and I’m sure if you read the book, it will also make you ponder.

On my end, I began thinking about several concerns, the primary one being the effect of social networks on teens and parenting.

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In the real world, the number of friends you have is limited by your neighborhood and school where you study or office place where you work. Online, one can expand the number of contacts. From a marketing perspective, the ability to build massive contacts on a personal level is a great opportunity. However, for a teenager, such power can be disruptive and can bring social pressures in a different level.

Lately, I have seen troubled youngsters running away from home and using their social network as a sanctuary where they can communicate and seek help from online friends.

Some have blocked their relatives from accessing their profile while others hide their Facebook account in order not to be traced.

On the other hand, this can also be abused and taken advantage of by people who will see these troubled youngsters as prey.

What can a parent do? Saying that you know your kids’ password is one thing but sooner or later, they will know how to protect their privacy and hide these information from you.

In the end, parents in the age of social media should work harder and build a more liberal relationship with their kids, grounded on trust. Because they have access to more information, children can validate, challenge or even disregard what their parents say.

If your kids are active on social networks, connect with them without intruding on their wall, which can embarrass them with their friends. Get to know their contacts and use social time in getting to know them. If your kid has siblings, encourage them to be connected with each other and let their friends get to know each other, too.

By having a tight circle, parents can monitor their children.

For parents, this is easier said than done, I encourage you to connect with other parents online – especially those you meet during parent-teachers meeting. In times of trouble, parents in touch with fellow parents will be best able to help each other.

(http://digitalfilipino.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 07, 2011.

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