In 2013 I started engaging with my son on what he thought is relevant or permitted updates from me, on various social media platforms. His achievements, photos, quirky things he say and funny things we do. Asking his permission to post about him online.
In doing this I realized how important it is for us to engage with our kids in this manner. It helps develop their reasoning skills on what is acceptable online engagement from a young age. Some of the questions he asked included “why”, “who will see”, “how long will it stay there” and “can my friends see it”.
I then also shared your comments with him. Including him in the conversation.
I shared your updates on your little ones and their achievements. To which some of his responses have been: “how lovely! when can we have a play date again?” etc.
I tend to spend quite a bit of time connecting with our friends online and I’ve explained to him that when I am typing away on my phone, I am actually “talking” with our very good friends. Learning and sharing knowledge, researching, seeking advice, and so on. In essence, it is not wasting time, but developing, growing and maintaining relationships with friends we’ve never met/do not see very often and it adds value to our life.
As parents we are apprehensive about social media and the influence it can have on our children. Let’s mirror positive online engagement and include them in appropriate discussions and develop responsible online interaction before they become part of the online conversations.
Now, 7 years later, my son lives an active online lifestyle, from TikTok to Instagram, to online gaming and various other social media platforms . Applications that played a significant role in maintaining connection during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Do you ever think of yourself as a mirror to your children when it comes to your online activity?