Vikram Singh, Web Manager at Social Media Matters, spoke with Manasi Salvi on Digital Parenting and its importance.
On the relevance of digital parenting Manasi shared, “When my daughter was 11 years old she was introduced to digital media through YouTube videos. Today, children are introduced quite early to the digital world. We as parents also, give gadgets and devices to children for our own ease and comfort. Later in the stage, it also hinders us as children get dependent on digital devices. Being a digital parent is like being an invisible or visible link between your child and their relationship with the digital media. It can happen at any age bracket.”
You can watch the complete live episode here:Talking about online security mechanisms for her daughter’s safety measures, Manasi shared, “Like as a parent we teach our kids about safety in the offline world, we also need to teach our kids how to be conscious about engagement/ sharing of information in the online world. She firmly believes, “A lot of things are similar among normal and digital parenting. The difference is only about online and offline. Bullying, trolling and criticism are online as well as offline.”
On being worried about children’s addiction to mobiles, Manasi commented, “I would be lying as a parent if I would say my daughter is not addicted. Because every teenager is addicted to some digital device. It’s us the parents, who need to guide children upon the usage of it.”
Vikram reflected upon the current scenario of children engaging in the online world and being exposed to the Internet. Since pandemic, children are learning and attending classes online which has resulted in increase in screen time “My nephew is attending online classes as well as, he also needs to watch his favorite YouTube videos.”
Manasi emphasized, “You’ve to be aware about your child. Before online classes began during lockdown, children were craving for social interaction as they were missing school, friends and teachers. Through online medium of education children are able to spend time with people they know and they feel owned by it. So, there are both negative and positive aspects to online education.”
IT’s My Time - ME TIME!
On handling children’s ME TIME, Manasi expressed, “Somewhere I feel over-protectiveness makes the child too vulnerable. You stop them quite often. It creates an antagonist feel among parents and children. It becomes YOU vs THEM. There should be a thin line of trust between children and parents. There are no parental locks on any of the gadgets, as I feel children should discuss with parents on the content which they are viewing and take the onus of it.”
Discussing consent while sharing pictures of toddlers by parents on social media, Manasi shared, “Consent is still an alien word to us. As we mostly believe in the ‘taken for granted’ approach. If we click a picture with someone, it’s a good habit to take consent before sharing that photograph on social media. But somewhere we are in a state of mind that just because we’ve clicked the picture we’ve all the right with it. Even if you’re a parent you must seek consent from your child. In a way you’re teaching your children to seek consent while dealing with others.” She further added, “Today when I click pictures with my daughter I seek her consent if she’s ok with me sharing her pictures on social media. Or if there was an interview where it required featuring her I needed her consent. Many times she said no and I had to let it go and respect her consent. You’re not raising kids, I believe you’re raising individuals.”
“Digital parenting is a topic which we should read about in depth. It’s going to stay with us for a very long time” – MANASI SALVI
TIPS FOR DIGITAL PARENTS!
Most of the time parents feel proud to say their child is tech savvy. Which is a good thing. But then the parents also admit they themselves have no idea about it. Somewhere I feel it’s time for us to be not just parents but woke parents as there’s so much impossible available online. We should be aware of what's going on with our children while they’re accessing social media platforms or if they need to be protected from some kind of online harassment. It needs the entire family’s involvement to make the child understand the importance and risk of the digital medium.
Manasi pointed out, “We always teach our children to not be a victim. But we do not speak to them in a way so that in future the child may not be a party to a digital crime. We hardly talk to them about bullying, trolling or objectionable content online. We only educate our kids not to be the victims but we do not educate them not to be the perpetrators as well. Bois locker room was quite an eye opener that kids can’t be just victims but perpetrators as well. Bullying and trolling can sabotage somebody’s life.”
On keeping children active without technology during a pandemic, Manasi concluded by sharing, “My child loves to do cleaning. Pandemic has taught us there will be a time when we’ll be all alone and we’ll have to be on our own. This was an experience for my daughter to take care of herself. Books are also a good company. Families got a lot of time to spend among themselves. I’ve spent quality time with my daughter like doing painting together and other activities.”