Parent stories: Post…like someone is watching

By Jacinta Zechariah on

Managing a child’s digital life can be quite a delicate balancing act for parents to do. Jacinta, Mum of three shares her experience to help others who may also be going through the same digital parenting challenges.

We live in a digital age and can’t help being connected – to devices that is. In fact, I sometimes feel that we are more connected to our devices than to each other.

Enjoying the wonders on the internet and social media safely

If you come over to our home, there are moments in time that we are all on devices – phones and tablets- playing games, working and using social media.

Being a Mum to 3 children aged 11, 8 and 5, I am constantly aware of the dangers of being online and I try to ensure that I do everything to keep them safe.

Being a blogger, (unfortunately) means, that a lot of my life is online and since my life involves my children, they have an online presence too.

Monitoring what social accounts kids can use

With my eldest now in secondary school, I see the impact of online social networks and though we have strict rules of what accounts she is allowed, we do allow her some of them that we think are seemingly harmless.

Encourage kids to think before they post

I have always told her that what you write online is like writing on a whiteboard with permanent marker. It can never be erased because the internet can never be erased and it’s there for the entire world to see.

So, think carefully before you post that message, before you make a comment about another.

Write…like someone is watching

And of course, I always bring my children up with the idea that one should never do something that they won’t like others to do to them – no matter how insignificant it may seem. Obviously, I don’t expect them to live by this rule stringently but I hope that they will stop and think before they do something, at least in some instances.

I don’t stalk my eldest online. I give her the freedom to make choices within limits. Some of her accounts are private which means she shares things with people who are only ever approved by her.

She knows not to share pictures of herself/the family without running it past me.

Talking about what they share and with who

Most of all I keep the lines of communication always open. I ask her about her friends. I ask her what they are talking about. And until now, she answers me. I try not to judge but to guide. I can’t speak of the future; I can only hope that she will still continue to share her life with me. I can only hope that as a parent I have given her some values and beliefs that will empower her not to give into peer pressure and be her own person.

It is a tough one in this day and age but I always tell her – it only takes one post…

I’ve also written a post about bullying and empowering girls on my blog Jacintaz3 so head over there if you’d like to read more.

Additional information

If you’d like to learn more about how you can help your children stay safe online, here are some great resources:

E-safety issues – tips for parents 

Sharing on social media – tips for parents

E-safety advice by age 

Social networking advice

Setting controls on devices

See Jacintaz3 website to see more from Jacinta.