How To Protect Your Kids In Today’s Digital Age
Like it or not, raising a child today differs greatly from back in the day. Remember how you couldn’t speak to your crush freely over the phone growing up because the entire house shared a landline telephone? Or how all you knew was what people around you told you as opposed to getting fed information on Google? Yes, times have changed, so how do you parent a child in today’s digital age, having been brought up in an analogue era? The challenges are much tougher, and the questions are unending; however, the most difficult question is, ‘when do you give your child a phone, and how do you control their activities on it?’
Due to the trajectory of the world economy today, the perks of having a technology-savvy child are enormous. Not only is the financial benefit of being a tech bro today ridiculously lush but its impetus as a career that helps humanity solve everyday problems is also laced with unequivocal dignity. So if you want to raise a tech bro (a gender-neutral term for people who have found success in tech) today, it is advised to hand them the tools from a tender age so they can develop an interest in the field. It is never so straightforward with parenting, though. Because of their overly curious minds, which makes sense given they are basically learning everything from scratch as we all did growing up, the potentials of wonder kids are limitless when allowed to be deeply marinated in whatever field they pick their interest in.
Globally, Parenting conversations have taken centre stage in recent years as most parents, even in Western countries, are increasingly genuinely concerned about the volume of political undertones in today’s entertainment, most significantly LGBTQ screen representations that most conservative parents interpret as sexual indoctrination of their offspring. Unlike back in the day when parents and guardians grew up not to question everything, this generation of kids leave their caregivers no other options but to be proactive about the kind of information their children are privy to courtesy of the content they consume.
In Nigeria, parenting hot takes have not been found wanting either, especially on social media. Every quarter, there have been news updates featuring different schools in Lagos with several forms of misbehaviour that find their way on vicious blogs online. “Where do these kids learn these things?” self-acclaimed parenting critics online have often asked, completely dumbfounded by the audacity of ‘children of nowadays’ to be involved in misdemeanours.
To conclude that there is not a world of difference between Generation Alpha (siblings to Gen Z’ers) and Millennials (and older) might sound like a hot take. Whether raised in the 1980s or mid- 2010s, there have always been “bad eggs” (for lack of better descriptive words) among children.
The only difference one might spot, however, is technology and social media’s immense ability to amplify everything we either already know or have the propensity to know. So what? Your parents did not have the sex talk with you growing up in the 80s, and you turned out fine? Today, if you don’t have it with your kids, they are going to learn all about it on a Netflix original, Sex Education. Yes, you can restrict them to the kids’ variation of the streaming platforms—and you should—but parental guidance today doesn’t end there. You can control the passwords to their social media accounts, but can you do the same with their friend’s? As cliché as it sounds, parenting will always fall short if it is not intentional. Whatever style of parenting you have chosen to go with, whichever way you have chosen to raise your kids, the consistent, conscious effort to instil values through verbal communication must never be in short supply because that is the true and most effective parental guidance.
Self-identifies as a middle child between millennials and the gen Z, began writing as a 14 year-old. Born and raised in Lagos where he would go on to obtain a degree in the University of Lagos, he mainly draws inspiration from societal issues and the ills within. His "live and let live" mantra shapes his thought process as he writes about lifestyle from a place of empathy and emotional intelligence. When he is not writing, he is very invested in football and sociopolitical commentary on social media.