October 1, 2020 6:10:12 pm
By Dr Minu Madlani
‘Too much screen time is bad’; ‘social media has harmful side effects’; ‘Parents should constantly monitor their child’s digital footprint’. Since the time education went wholly digital owing to the Covid19 pandemic, such unsolicited advice has been flying freely in the air.
However, considering the new normal that we are in now and the speed at which technology is metastasising, screen time and social media are not the only trepidations that parents should be worried about. Parenting in the new normal or the digital age has to go much deeper than that.
To successfully prepare your child for a digital future, parents should make sure they focus their attention towards the below mentioned aspects about technology and its uses:
Unlike in the real world, forming an online identity does not require any actual documentation or legal paperwork. Thus, there are a high number of chances in identity fraud and identity theft online. Parents should hence educate their children carefully about the judicious use of the internet and how they should be careful about who they are interacting with. They should be thoroughly taught lessons about online identity and identification so that they do not end up transferring any confidential information to unknown recipients.
Cyber bullying is one of the biggest curses of the growing social media culture and can be quite detrimental to a child’s mental health. Parents should watch out for any signs of cyber bullying that their children may unknowingly be victims to. They should also ensure timely professional help is taken, in case the child is already a victim to cyber bullying. Moreover, parents should also explain to their children what cyber bullying means so as to make sure that their child is not the one that is being the bully here.
Cyber crimes and security
Nowadays, digital technology is an integral part of over 80 percent activities that a person conducts in a day, resulting in a lot of sensitive information punched into different portals and apps daily. Information related to home addresses, personal details, bank details etc, if received or acquired by the wrong person may put an individual’s money and personal liberty at great risk. Hence, preventive and corrective measures should be taken to ensure the system a child uses for internet surfing should be secured with the most sophisticated security software and be completely cybercrime proofed.
Read| Parents worry as kids’ screen time increases in lockdown, survey reveals
Parents should keep themselves updated
Although technology may seem daunting at first, parents should try as far as possible to keep themselves updated with all forms of technology their child is using or has access to. This will help them understand the pros and cons of these instruments better and thus effectively manage their child’s activities as well.
Monitor child’s activity and use parental controls
Last but not the least, the internet is a very fast-paced medium. Hence, parents should make sure they are monitoring each and every activity that they child is privy to online. They should be well aware of the kind of websites he/she is surfing and the people he is communicating with. Additionally, parents should also apply the necessitated parental controls to prevent their children from accessing data that is not appropriate for their age. However, the control should be exercised judiciously so as not to stymie the curiosity of the child to benefit from the vast potential of knowledge accessible through the internet.
The digital revolution in the modern times can be considered one of the biggest leaps in civilisation ever. It has given rise to a new era of speed and automation. While getting to speed with these aspects may look difficult at first, as a parent this is nothing but taking the basics of yesterday and assimilating it to the demands of tomorrow. After all, successful parenting is all about evolving, learning, unlearning and adapting.
(The writer is Principal, K.P.B Hinduja College of Commerce.)
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