Should parents make their children aware of the gender inequalities online? If so, how should they go about it?
When talking to our children about issues online, it can be difficult to know whether we feel like we have the knowledge, or indeed enough knowledge about a subject to explain it to them.
One of these subjects is Gender. The issue of equality in this area is highly sensitive and, at times, a contentious subject matter. As a child/adolescent and adult psychotherapist, this is a topic of many sessions. Young people are finding their identity as they develop and mature, and this includes reading and watching content online that can inform them about who they are becoming.
The parents and guardians who come to my office are sometimes confused, sceptical or have in-depth knowledge on this issue. They want me to advise on how best to let friends and family know about their/other children and the space of gender inequalities, support and oppression online. The best advice for these guardians is to have open conversations about the fact that human beings and how they see themselves can be complicated. As such, the spaces online can be both hostile and supportive of young people who are identifying (or not) with a specific gender and the language surrounding that.
Open dialogue is important with young people and, of course, in order to have open dialogue, adults must have an open mind and personality with a desire to learn more without judgement. Our role as the adults is to help our children navigate the online space and sometimes we need to be the role model of this very behaviour.