This blog is an excerpt from Ramen’s parenting book,“Effective Parenting: A New Paradigm”.
Today technology has swamped every aspect of our life and living. Children, in particular, are busy juggling their lives between the virtual and the real worlds. Some of them are living so much in the virtual world that the virtual seems to be real and the real, virtual.
Facebook, Twitter and the myriad other attractions of the virtual world have the youngsters so much in their thrall that they have very little time, energy or interest in real life relationships. And if the net doesn’t get them in its net we have the ubiquitous mobile and the irresistible play stations.
How does a parent combat the Goliath of Technology?
- By enforcing strict discipline – “You shall not go on Facebook, no Twitter for you”.
- By becoming a Virtual Vigilante – Stalking his child’s activity on the net or reading her text and WhatsApp messages on the cell.
The answer is a big NO!
Each one of these strategies will result in a no-win situation. Enforcing discipline would only result in rebellion. And there is no point in trying to control something which you just can’t. If you enforce restrictions at home he will simply go to his friend’s place or the friendly neighborhood internet parlour and flirt with the net.
The only solution, according to yours truly is to follow the adage: ‘Join ‘em, if you can’t fight em.’
My son Aniket told me that his friend Tanvi and her mum Tuhina sit in adjoining rooms and keep exchanging likes and shares on FB. At first, I found this rather droll. But later I realized that Tuhina’s idea was actually quite cool. She was sharing space and time with her daughter and establishing a real connect in the virtual world.
So rather than shunning technology or treating it as an enemy it would make far more sense to reach out and embrace it.
Being a vigilante too would be counter-productive. Rather than being mama or papa Sherlock Holmes it would make far more sense to be a ‘foul weather friend’ who only deals in the currency of trust.