Many parents today are increasingly concerned that their children may be spending too much time on the Internet, hence missing out on real-life interactions.
This fear stems from the fact that the internet has been described as ‘no man’s land’ where anyone can share just about anything with little or no regulation.
In the last decade, the world has witnessed an explosion of information and content from users across the globe in form of text, audio or video but more importantly, what has been a major subject of many conversations especially for parents or guardians is how they can maximize their children’s ‘screen-time’ while also ensuring that they are exposed to ‘healthy’ content.
In a panel discussion at the just concluded Social Media Week, speakers such as Lanre Olusola, Adesuwa Onyenokwe and Olayinka Somoye, shared some of the dangers that a parent may be exposing their children by allowing them own digital devices, as well as how to protect them from the evils of the internet age.
Devices May Not Be The Problem
While they came to the conclusion that outrightly preventing children from using or owning devices may not be the best solution, especially as parents won’t always be there to monitor their activities, they highlighted some ways by which their exposure to negative content can be minimized.
Sharing from her personal experience as a parent, TV show host, Adesuwa Onyenokwe, explained that while raising her children, herself and her husband provided facilities for ‘proper playtime’ and only allowed watching television on Friday evenings.
According to her, the children were also restricted from using phones until the age of 18.
Be Their Friend As much As Their Parent
Adesuwa also noted that despite the firm discipline, she allowed her children be themselves without criticism by being a good listener and adviser even when they did the wrong things. This according to her, allowed them to open up more about things that growing teenagers ordinarily would want to keep secret.
According to her, she had fears but never made them obvious to the children, rather through mindful correction, she always pointed them in the right direction and believed that they would not stray.
Give Quality Time
Also sharing his thoughts, Life and Mind Coach, Lanre Olusola, explained that from research, any information that is given to a child before the appropriate age, is capable of destroying their mental and emotional stability as well as their innocence.
Speaking further, he warned parents to avoid spoiling children in the name of protecting their happiness.
“Parents should stop trying to buy their children’s happiness with gifts and all that. The best thing one can give the child is your time, rather than leaving them in the hands of maids and devices.
“The child you pamper today will tamper with your peace tomorrow,” he stressed.
He also advised that at least one parent should always be there to look after the children when they are home as well as attend to their academic needs.
Fighting Technology With Technology
The speakers also noted that while devices can be allowed, they should be limited to some functions.
They advised that applications such as the Digital Coach App, can protect the child’s gadgets through its web filtering technology that prevents them from sexual predators, self-harm, cyber-bullying, and blocks out pornography/other age-restricted content.
When all is done, parents are reminded that they are only God’s stewards on earth to the children, hence prayers cannot be ruled out.
They must continually pray for them, their friends, those they interact with and their overall well-being because indeed the internet is here to stay.