Darling, Make Sure The Kids Are On Leash !!
In the 60’s teenagers were either Beatles or Rolling Stones, a decade later I remember the harrowing choice I had to make between being a pro Lego or be a Playmobil fan (I was the latter), today young children and teenagers are torn between safety vs. autonomy.
As parents we are probably the most safety obsessed generation, it is not abnormal though, through generations every parent have been wanting to keep their kids safe but safety guards, outlet covers and other door latches have seen us becoming the reincarnation of a prevention business rep rather than a parent teaching kids how to integrate socially or be comfortable with exploring limits beyond their personal space.
Now of course nobody (starting with me) knows if what we are doing is preparing our children to be safe in an unsafe world, parenting is probably very different from the previous generations. The main difference is that while our current generation is in a perpetual quest for the arms of mass communication we probably know less about the lives of our children than we may think.
We may have made everything security tight in our house but we are often powerless with a dimension of personal space that our children can keep completely out of our control, it is out of sight even when they sit on a couch two steps from us.
The digital revolution has impacted parenting and our lives in ways that we sometimes have not come to terms with yet and by saying digital I already show my age. My daughter who is 6 (going on 12) asked me today what was the difference between a camera and a ``digital’’ camera pointing out to me that a camera is a camera full stop and what is this digital adjective I keep using (smile).
She is already ahead of me and so is her older brother, I guess we better got to learn a few things quick you and I if we want to make sure our children are safe?
The discussion I fear the most is not where babies are coming from (smile), cyberbullying is an altogether bigger concern. I have asked a friend who is routinely speaking to schools pupils about internet safety what are the main do’s and don’ts he shares in primary and secondary schools.
• Before you post anything online, ask yourself whether you would share the information at an all-school assembly. Once you post something online, it is there for everyone to see.
• Be nice and polite to everyone you contact online. Connect with Respect.
• Do not share your passwords with ANYONE other than your parents—not even your friends.
• Do not provide information regarding your whereabouts online
• Never meet someone face-to-face who you met online.
• Do not forward any photos or images that contain nudity.
• If you receive a message from someone that makes you feel upset or worried, show it to your parents or a teacher.
• Think before you text or post because your words and images can impact your reputation and can damage your future success.
• Conduct yourself online the way you conduct yourself in the real off-line world, if you would not say something to someone’s face, do not say over email or by text.
• Remember the Internet is a wonderful place to find information and connect with people and friends.
• Surf safely and remember the three Cs
• Avoid contact with strangers
• Consider the content of your message
• Conduct yourself responsibly online
I know I know you may think this is out of sync with the reality, it does not use the right language, it is patronizing etc… but we got to start somewhere no? This is Serious with a capital S, this is not a marketing pitch, we are not in a gimmicky business PR campaign either there is more at stake here. To me simplicity in the message equals clarity.
Parents are not immune from the pace of the societal changes and personally I can only acknowledge that the world has changed big time when I hear that Telefonica has launched a children watch device with an embedded RFID like chip triggering an alarm when children cross the housing estate limits. Gosh I wonder sometimes!
But should I not be surprised when in the same estate some couples refer to their dogs as their child, give them treats, dress them with winter outfits and call their neighbour’s children
Play Mobil Germany
Thanks to Ben Geoghegan
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