Hello readers! You know what I believe? I believe that a new year is another opportunity given to us to rectify errors, start afresh, explore new territories and do something we have always meant to do but never had the time or heart to do. It makes for new experiences, and make life more interesting, don’t you think?
As I concern myself primarily with cybersafety, my focus will be on the discovery of the new social media sites children have migrated to and safety issues concerning them. Social media is a revolution that is taking the world by storm and no one can remain immune to its attractions; certainly n not your tweens and teens.
The 2014 McAfee “Tweens, Teens & Technology Report” reveal some interesting data. The survey findings show that a substantial count of youth are online and enjoying it, with 66% of the youth stating they felt more comfortable on social media than in person. That’s quite a number, considering the count of tweens and teens as per the last census.
In addition, they looked up to social media approval to feel more accepted in their peer group. 72% wished they received more likes while 58% felt depressed if they didn’t receive as many likes as they would have liked.
I hear a loud, clear message from kids here. They need to be heard, they need to share and they need to feel appreciated and admired. True that they want the ears and appreciation of their peers mainly, but if we parents gave them our love, our undivided attention and REALLY listened to their views and angst, perhaps their state of happiness wouldn’t depend so much on the reactions of online friends?
Here’s something that happened to a sister-in-law of mine very recently. She went ballistic because she had misplaced her new smartphone and turned the house upside down looking for it, but in vain. Late that night her teenage son defiantly handed her the phone. She was thunderstruck, bereft of words!
He just said, “Today was a wonderful day. You actually listened to what I had to say, instead of mumbling something as you checked your WhatsApp messages. And we had such a lovely and long dinnertime conversation.”
She called me up to share this and I said, “You got the wake-up call. Better take note and ditch the phone when in the company of your son. He would love and respect you more for it.”
I had got my wake-up call in a restaurant while out on a family dinner. After placing orders, I couldn’t ignore the itch to check my messages quickly. I was brought back to reality by my daughter who said, “Mom! I don’t like it when you check your messages when we are supposed to be bonding as a family.” Whoa!! Whoa!! Whoa!!
Most children would usually not express their needs so clearly and slowly drift apart from parents. Don’t let that happen. Just like you have rules for smartphone use by your kids, have some for yourselves too.
More on social media platforms later. For now, let’s just hug our kids tight and give them all our love and attention. Stop.Think.Connect. What better way to start the year?
Happy parenting in 2015!!!
Wishing all my readers a very happy new year! Stay curious, stay safe.