Social networking is an integral part of our life now. It is a part of our work culture, our lifestyle and even parenting. With increasing number of nuclear families and couples moving away from their paternal homes for better prospects, we are at a loss of parenting advice.

Social networking is helping us bridge the gap and get time-tested solutions for our parenting troubles. It has actually ended our dependency on our relatives and peers for advice. A research conducted by Pew Research center in 2015 found out that 79 percent of parents who used social media, got useful information from their networks on parenting.

The parents networking on social media has evolved into a symbiotic ecosystem globally, where parents are actively participating in the exchange of information.

In the same research 71% of all parents on social media said that they try to respond if they know the answer to a question posed by someone in their online community. Be it through group chats or via blogs, now there is easy access to information and also emotional support.

However, on the other hand, a research by Commonsensemedia shows that fifty percent of parents think that using social media hurts children’s physical activity – a common concern in most parents.

Children and Screen Time

Today children, are exposed to excessive screen time. They are reluctant to go outside and engage in any sort of physical activity. Parents are spending as much as nine hours daily in front their TVs, laptops, mobiles, etc. When a child sees that the parent would rather engage with people virtually than in person, it leaves a very bad impression on his or her mind.

If parents want their kids to read books, or paint or engage in conversations, they should lead by example. Young impressionable minds learn a lot by observing us. In future their actions will mirror what they have grown up seeing.

Parents have to make sure that they spend some time daily, interacting one on one with the kids.

They should discourage kids from pouting and posing repeatedly for selfies. Little kids should not see their peers as people who keep obsessing over the quality of a mere photograph. Nor should they see them as someone with a constant need to share every little detail of the day on networking platforms.

Children and social networking platforms.

Many parents are also finding it increasingly difficult to monitor their teen wards time on social networking platforms. Also, how much information should be shared online? Should we constantly ‘helicopter’ them, out of fear for their well-being? The rift on this issue puts a lot of strain on teen-aged kids and their parents. Teenagers feel that parents need to develop trust and support for them. While parents think that they know what is good for their child, as they are more experienced.

67 percent of parents say that monitoring their children’s media use is more important than respecting their privacy.

Parents have to understand that rebellion and hatred is a part and parcel of their growing up years. Strong security measures for internet browsing and limited access to interactive websites are a small part of the solution. Internet Safety education and awareness is the long-term solution. Children should be made aware of potential threats of the internet.

Every human learns from his or her own mistakes, but in these unscrupulous times, these mistakes cost lives, trust and confidence. Parents can’t protect their children from all the problems they will face in life. There will be times, when some children will end up getting grievously hurt despite their parents’ best effort to keep them safe. These wounds will be more mental than physical. Furthermore, in such times we should stand by them, and empathise with their problems.

Also Read: Why The Debate over Playing the National Anthem Will Go On

Dr Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are author’s own.

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