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Educating teens about digital footprints

My daughter is on Instagram as @motivational__lab but before I let her do this, I simply asked her, “what is your purpose?” Am not the kind of mum to say “No” outrightly because I like to explore my kids’ minds plus every moment is a teachable moment. I am also someone who believes in intentional living so am raising my kids to live with a purpose. So when I asked why she wanted to be on Instagram, she told me she was having a hard time adjusting to learning from home in the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown and knew that they were other teens like her who were struggling and some even depressed because of the impact of the pandemic and the challenges of online learning. I had seen my daughter go throw mood swings due to online learning and she had also felt choked up being stuck in the house. I really wanted her to have an outlet to release all that stress. So I sat her down and explained digital footprints to her. I think rather than say no outrightly to your kids, it’s best to educate them about their responsibilities. I told her that though social media gave us free speech, it isn’t actually free because whatever we express today sometimes resurfaces to hunt us in the future. So I explained that access to social media came with responsibilities which is to self. Free speech comes with a cost which is why “Cancel culture” has become a problem.

And now, I have to explain cancel culture to her as well. A lot of the time, we think our kids are too young to understand these real life challenges but the sooner you expose them to these realities, can they develop a voice and to fight for a just cause. So rather than ban your kids from social media, have a deep talk about their purpose and responsibilities with them first. From such conversation, even they will realize that they are not ready for the responsibilities.



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