Raising kids in the net age

2015_7$largeimg02_Jul_2015_223332777Every period in history has had different set of standards for everything. At any given time, the level of exposure, the degree of social acceptance, the societal norms and other factors determine how a particular behaviour and action is judged.When parents of today were young, online exposure was very limited, if any. Now, with every kid having a personal device or mobile that can connect them to a friend and to the internet just as easily, monitoring has become tougher. And in a reactionary stance, kids, too, are guarding their space more zealously.While it is important to let children learn from their mistakes, some ‘mistakes’ can far-reaching negative consequences. And hence parents need to step in and take a stand at appropriate age and time. “Not giving access to technology is not the solution as kids will be at a disadvantage. It is advisable to have some ground rules and as long as they stick to them, there shouldn’t be much to worry about,” says Aditi Ahluwalia, Counsellor, Delhi Public School, Chandigarh.Dr B. S. Chavan, Professor and Head of Department of Psychiatry at GMCH, Chandigarh, says, “Times are such that these call for caution regarding your child’s safety. Rising drug-and-alcohol abuse, gambling and crime in younger years and easy accessibility of everything over the internet have made it hard but necessary to monitor kids closely. A congenial family atmosphere and encouraging them to confide in you is a better approach than trying to check on them. But at times when there is sufficient reason, respecting boundaries takes a backseat and their safety must come first.” If they are under-age and living with you, you can check on them anytime you feel their wellbeing is at stake.Children can tell their parents that they want their space, and there is nothing wrong with that. But parents need to tell them that it is something that they have to earn and not demand. At the same time, parents should give that privilege to a child who is responsible and truthful in general. Simran Ahuja, a 15-year-old from Shimla, says, “I just don’t like it when my mother goes through the calling list on my phone. Because it makes her feel secure about me, I choose to pretend that I haven’t noticed. Although, I wish I could tell her that if someone really does want to do something wrong and not let anyone know about it, it is very easy these days.”Kids do feel cheated at times when they feel they are not being understood. They feel just because they have the privilege doesn’t mean they are going to misuse it and they have a hard time getting it through to parents. At times, it means the children stop telling them anything for the very reason that they are not going to put enough faith in them anyway. “Even at 30, I cannot decide what is best for me just because I am single. My parents must know everything and will shoot down every suggestion the first time around. When I do have my way, it is mostly because they have to give in and not because they agree,” says Vijayeta Duggal from Mohali.What one parent may think of as a necessary measure to protect their child, another may find it invasion of space that is best avoided. Every parent fears the worst and wants the best for their kids. It is their moral and legal responsibility to ensure children’s welfare at all times. Be a friend not just to your child but also to your child’s friends and get to know them. In times of Snapchat and Instagram when children can conveniently lock you out of their lives, with hundreds of new ways to bypass parental monitoring, it is a huge task to keep them on the right track. Says Pinky Khanna, “I realised that it was impossible to deny them permission to join many of the new social platforms that I thought could not be monitored by me. I have now taken to talking to my daughter more, going for a walk with her and spending more time together in general. She was apprehensive about it initially, but started enjoying it once she realised it was not about preaching but sharing.”But not all kids are as welcoming and parents can be in quite a fix. In dire situations, like if the child has been found with something incriminating, it is alright to impose restrictions. After all, if the child brings drugs into the house, they are putting at risk their parents’ too who can be in legal trouble for their kids’ actions.A kid can have ample friends but only one set of parents to guide them . It is up to the parents to keep kids on the right track, even if it means disciplinary methods kids are not happy about. If they could decide what was good for them, they wouldn’t be kids anymore.

Source: The Tribune