About fifteen years ago, when emails where the only way to get connected to people living away, there was a circulating email about a boy who sent his parents a long email apologizing for his long absence and not being able to visit them more often because he was extremely busy and at the end he asked his mom to bring his dinner upstairs to his room and of course it was the status back then that kids were glued to their PCs and stayed in their rooms to be connected online at all times.
Well, now it is not the same, it is a thousand times more, kids are glued to their smart phones and their social life is tied closely to their social media networks.
It is plausible if we are talking about balanced kids or teenagers who experienced real life to a certain extent and are trying to share the events with their friends who left the country or relatives they don’t see on regular basis.
But the dangerous thing is that some kids are only five years old and they have accounts on every social media network. It is not a problem if parents are following their kids’ activity on social media, to guide them just in case some freak follows your kids and God knows what kind of information he will plant in their heads or abuse he will do. It is scary how much uncontrolled social media are, maybe the easiest one to follow is Facebook, but as a working mom, I can not follow my kids everywhere, its like chasing them around on the internet, which is literally impossible, kids are very smart and they could figure out new social medias much faster than we do….at least I am talking about myself. the instant I know how to deal with one thing, there is another social media that becomes fashionable to use and I find myself clueless.
It is sad to find out that some moms use their kids’ busyness online to get free time for themselves. In fact, it’s a shame to find out that some kids become closer to total strangers and more distant from their parents when they are just a room away. I know parents who know how their kids are doing from their daily tweets, parents who know their kids whereabouts from Google map on Viber and others who demand the password for their kids FB accounts to check on them, all three cases prove how much they failed at being close to their own kids.
So, it actually comes down to sitting down and talking to your kids about the hazards of being too exposed on the internet, too obvious, sharing the little details that could be used in a wrong way if they fall into the wrong hands.
I was right when I did that because I found my daughter telling me that she discovered that one of her FB friends who goes to the same school turned out to be a fake account having the same name of one of her friends, needless to say, it was not a girl nor at her school.
I try to keep my kids apart form being online 24/7, try to stop their obsession with instant chats and updated status and come watch TV together or go out or even share a simple meal on the dinner table without having their faces glued to their phone screens or fingers quickly texting. Again, there is a circulating joke on FB that if a mom wants to get her kids attention, she turns off the router and they appear instantly out of their rooms to wonder what happened. So, I do make a habit out of disconnecting it because if I simply call them they will reply “one minute” and of course they only come out under two conditions if I call them, 1- I scream at the top of my lungs or 2- electricity is out!
Honestly, nothing beats human relationships, when you make your child feel how much you love him and how much you want him to lead a happy and balanced life he will definitely respond. Talking is one of the simplest ways to open up, clear out misunderstandings and share your love. It’s the magical touch when you hug your child while talking, it’s looking them into their eyes that they know you mean what you are saying, it’s the concern they see that they will believe you will not let anyone out there harm them, but only if they could come out and talk to you about their lives. A simple question, “how was your day?” makes a world of difference, it shows how much you care and let them have their privacy in sharing their feelings willingly.
It gets harder and harder to be a good parent in this frantic world, but our kids are worth the effort!