No parent ever wants to see their child grow up to be a terrible or miserable person. In a world where there is so much hate and misery, one of a parent’s worst nightmares is to see their child — whether son or daughter — grow up a victim of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding them.
In a world filled with so much entitlement, how can parents be assured that their kids will grow up to be morally upright and socially responsible, especially if they’re surrounded by fakers, scammers, and keyboard warriors online?
The Battle in the Digital Realm
We’re living in very confusing times right now. The world looks very different today compared to what it looked like half a century ago. And even then, things were already considered quite progressive compared to earlier parts of the 20th century.
Have you ever gone online and just browsed your newsfeed? Notice how many of the shared posts — whether they’re meant to inspire or call out — are peppered with a lot of negativity, disrespect, and hate. You don’t even have to browse the comments sections to see the blatant disrespect people have for each other. There are times that even the main posts are meant to be offensive to certain people.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the environment our kids are exposed to, considering all their time online. You might think that they’re just watching videos on YouTube or making TikTok videos, but some of these videos have been known to cause bodily harm and even endangering lives. Certain YouTube and TikTok challenges gone wrong have resulted in parents talking to a PI attorney about the injuries sustained by their kids taking on dimwitted challenges.
There’s also the risk of children learning inappropriate language and behavior from their online interactions. Parents need to pay more attention to what their kids are doing instead of letting technology do the parenting.
Responsible Behavior: The Right Response
The internet is no different from the physical world because it can be a good and a bad place at the same time. While it offers so much potential to make a difference in the world, it is also laden with plenty of evils that, if left unaddressed, can significantly affect our children and the future of the world.
Parents need to be more involved in their kids’ online activities. Tech should never be considered a nanny that keeps kids occupied while the parents do other “more important things.” Keep in mind that a parent’s primary responsibility is to parent their child to grow up as responsible and moral citizens that will help improve society. Nothing could be more important than that.
They need to teach kids certain values that will help them navigate the online world and grow up as decent individuals.
Today’s world is filled with so much falseness, conspiracy, and secrecy that dishonesty has become quite commonplace. White lies are considered harmless, while telling half-truths is enough to get you off the hook when you’re in trouble. Kids need to understand that honesty is directly tied to their integrity and credibility.
Promoting accountability is also a great way of building honesty in a child. One of the reasons kids find it hard to be honest is that society puts a greater emphasis on consequences. While consequences of bad actions are natural and inevitable, parents should also commend children’s honesty. This doesn’t mean letting the offense go unpunished but placing greater value on character-building instead of meting out punishment to teach a lesson.
The online world has become a vanity outlet and has been used as a platform for self-promotion to get affirmation and approval from others. Children need to be taught that there’s more to life than just self-satisfaction. There is greater fulfillment in focusing on looking out for other people and helping meet their needs.
A good way to get them started would be to direct them to sites that allow them to contribute to humanitarian work. Instead of taking on dangerous internet challenges to get a sense of belonging, direct their energy to something more fruitful and life-changing where they can be connected to real communities that care for people.
It takes a lot of courage to stand up against a tidal wave. With the torrent of everything the internet offers, going against its flow shows strength of character. The internet is peer pressure on a whole different level, and most kids find its lures hard to resist. Kids who are taught the value of self-control — meaning putting a limit on digital device usage, knowing their boundaries, being transparent at all times about their online activities, and other similar things — will have a greater aptitude and resolve to achieve more as they grow up.
A child who knows how to respect people will always be mindful of what they say and do. Think about it, when a person grows up to be respectful of other people’s feelings and rights, we probably wouldn’t have faced all the prejudice and discrimination that’s quite prevalent throughout history. Being mindful of other people and giving them the respect they deserve as human beings — regardless of belief, politics, social status, or color — can lead to a more peaceful and better world.
The bottom line here is parents should be more involved in building their children’s character instead of leaving things to technology. And more than that, parents should also serve as good role models for their children to follow. They need not be perfect, but as long as their kids see they are doing their best to be better online and offline, they’ll have better chances of growing up to be responsible, compassionate, and respectful people.