“The Internet Never Forgets.”
Something as simple as sharing a simple image of your child on the internet can lead to them being used as a meme. If such a child starts attending school and someone somehow makes the connection between them and the meme, it can be a potential cause for them being bullied. Their lives would never be the same again.
That’s not all!
Imagine that a child is left exposed to adult content due to the negligence of family members, it means they will be potentially introduced to destructive life-changing habits at an early age, some of which have direct impact on their mental capacities, and productivity in school and social lives.
If those two above examples do not hit home, how about the fact that addiction to Social Media platforms have been revealed to lead to depression and heightened anxiety levels among young people? On Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchap they are exposed to images and videos that may cause them by encouraging a tendency towards over-compare their lives with that of strangers. On Twitter, they will probably be exposed to cyber-bullying, hate-speech, and futile arguments with strangers.
Wouldn’t it be of necessity for parents to be empowered with knowledge and the tools they need to mentor and not just spy on their kids. Through our Digital Parenting workshops, seminars and online campaigns aimed at educating them, we intend to present parents with the facts they need.
At Digital Literacy Initiative, we understand that whereas the risks exist, there are opportunities as well for children, and we cannot pretend that attempting to totally avoid the internet is the solution. We will therefore prioritize things like; showing parents how they can best maximize the benefits of the internet for their children.
Of course, we will engage parents in practical sessions and discussions during our Digital Parenting engagements, their worries like; children not having social skills due to always looking at their phones, addiction to games, constant distraction due to multi-tasking, short attention span syndrome, exposure to explicit content, becoming cyber bullies or getting bullied online, and avoiding blackmail will be discussed extensively.
The children themselves are a key part of the equation and thus, special mentorship sessions will be organized for them to help them deal with the pressures that growing up in a highly Digitalized world presents them with.
Through involvement of some of their role models who have been victims of cyber bullying or the now popular phenomenon of sharing nudies, we intend to give them real life examples that can guide them in their decision-making when no one is watching.
Our involvement with role models and experts when interacting with the much older children, will address the subject of the impact of the internet and trends on personal identity, self-esteem and self-worth
When we talk about Child Safety, we cannot ignore the growing trend of making friends through the internet. This exposes children to being targeted by strangers with ill-intentions including, kidnap, rape and perhaps murder. How then is a child to vet ‘friends’ on the internet? This programme will teach them principles like, avoiding meeting strangers in secluded areas, and often doing so with other friends and in public to reduce the risk.
Child Safety on digital platform will require a collective effort, after-all, in Africa, “It takes a village to raise a child.”