On the eve of returning to school, parents are faced with many anxieties this year, mostly due to Covid. Trusting that your child will follow the expectations of the school and public health authorities to keep themselves safe and healthy is a big leap of faith.
Building trust in your child decision is a slow process that evolves under your guidance over many years. Early individual and social tasks are highly supervised by you and other trusted adults like teachers, coaches, extended family members, and neighbours. As children grow, allowing them some freedom to exercise decision-making is key to growing confident, healthy, and independent young adults. Learning from mistakes is sometimes part of this process.
The explosion of social media technologies has certainly complicated parenting today. Finding the right balance between supervision and intrusion is a delicate one that sometimes warrants the support of a third party such as an aunt, uncle, or grandparent.
Where conflict arises over persistent power struggles with your child over social media dependence, and perhaps risky online incidents, professional intervention by a qualified clinician or therapist is best. A professionally trained mental health counsellor with child and family experience will help your family find a happy middle ground that ensures your child is safe and that your rules are respected.
For the most part, parents who can trust the decisions and choices made by their children in everyday tasks are more likely to trust their children with online and social media activities. Being vigilant about the amount of time, favourite sites, and apps your child is exploring is extremely important. You need to keep the lines of communication open with your children in order to foster a tone of trust and care about their online activity and social media presence.
The sad reality is that there are some dangers to unsupervised online activities that children are far too vulnerable to navigate without adult guidance, and in some extreme cases intervention. Calls from the parents of your child’s friends, school, children’s aid society, or local police are strong indicators that your child’s online activity is risky.
Building virtue online is possible and a shared goal. Help your child by reviewing the following questions prior to creating a post OR commenting online:
- Is my post kind and caring?
- Will my words build up or break down someone else’s post?
- Do I really need to post my comment ?
- Am I concerned about comments or posts I read online?
- Am I being unkind or hurtful on purpose?
- Did I re-read my post before posting it?
- Was I angry or sad when I posted a comment?
- Who can I share my concerns with about these comments or posts at home or school? Am I afraid that I will get in trouble?
- What might happen if I post a photo or comment on my social media?
- Do I have permission to post a photograph that includes my friends?
- Am I clear about how the privacy controls work on my apps?
Helping your children to develop problem-solving and decision-making skills that are thoughtful, caring, and compassionate starts well before they have access to technology. Hold your children to account where they have been mean, critical, or unkind to people online.
Modern technologies offer many positive aspects to shared learning and social experiences. DO your part to make virtual platforms safe for everybody – a kinder & gentler place for children to share with one another.
Sunny dispositions deserve to shine !!!!
#wellness #socialmedia #onlinerisk #parentingforvirtue