Children And Technology
Social Media Etiquette In The COVID Era
The Corona Virus pandemic has caused major disruptions in day to day life. Virtually everything has been affected – Homelife; Schooling, Work; Entertainment; Communication; Business, etc. A major effect of this is that all over the world, even the most ardent technology skeptics have been forced to acquaint and/or re-acquaint themselves with new ways of doing things.
This has inevitably led to an explosion in online solutions to everyday activities like shopping; food order services; learning tools and resources; health services; religious services; communication tools and so on. Businesses with a strong online presence have been able to make the shift with major chunks of their business going online. Conversely, brick and mortar stores without an online presence have suffered losses due to lock downs, business closures and movement restrictions. Although the pandemic has seen a major boom in online business, virtual stores, and new technology solutions catering to people in lockdown, isolated, or working from home, sadly, several people have lost their jobs. Even with the gradual lifting of restrictions, there is the real fear of lay-offs for those returning back to work which will only worsen an already bad unemployment situation. My hope is for a return to some form of normalcy later in the year or next year.
The situation in Nigeria has not been much different. The government has enforced lockdowns, travel restrictions, school closures, closure of entertainment and event centers, gymnasiums, and so on. In some states designated as epicenters due to the high number of cases, worship services are yet to resume. Just recently, the government has announced that schools begin arrangements for students taking their exit exams.
At the initial stage of the COVID19 outbreak, schools had to make adjustments from traditional teaching methodologies to online solutions to cater to their students locked down at home. Several schools adopted social media, SMS, and e-mail messaging to intimate parents and students of the changes with instructions for registration on online school platforms for classes, assignments, and tests.
This inevitably meant children spending more time on devices and making use of platforms like WhatsApp, e-mail, and web search engines. This created its own unique set of challenges for parents. If you are like me, you will agree that what you digest physically, mentally, and spiritually is very important. I am a firm believer in feeding your mind with the right stuff. We (children and adults alike) need to feed our minds with educative, growth-related, and character-building content. I remember when I used to say to my kids, ‘Technology and the internet are very good and also very bad depending on usage’
I had to adjust to the ‘New Normal’ with some creative thinking. I decided to make a guide to tech use and social media etiquette and send it to my kids. My purpose was to provide a guide and arm them with the information and tools needed to navigate our increasingly technologically connected world. As parents, we often think certain challenges or situations are unique to us forgetting that parenting is a universal thing. I remembered looking through that list some days ago and it just hit me ‘This would be useful to other parents’. So, here is the list below with some minor adjustments:
- Self-respect - If you wouldn't say something to someone directly, don't say it online
- Be careful what you like, share or comment on - if you think you will not be proud of what you liked, shared or commented on 5, 10 or 20 years from now, don't do it
- Remember, that like your physical footprints, you have an online digital footprint storing what you do online. A prospective school, employer or organization can easily check you up online which can have ramifications for prospective school applications, employment offers or other such requests
- Internet - I have always told you that technology and the internet are very good and also very bad. It is a goldmine for information, study and research resources, and much more. It is also used by criminals, cybercriminals, pedophiles, hackers, thieves, for pornography and other such vices. You must be very vigilant
- Social media - as with internet and general tech use, you must have a purpose; be disciplined and create appropriate boundaries. It is called 'social' media. Just as you won't spend all your waking hours 'socializing' you should not spend a large part of your day on social media.
- Friend and connection requests - mind the connections you accept, groups you join, and people you follow. Whether you realize it or not, this can be used to rate or access you for prospective applications(e.g jobs, schools, and others) even without your knowledge.
- Avoid online chat groups - if you are added to groups without your consent, exit the group. They are a recruiting ground for a lot of terrible things
- Always investigate and check out companies, organizations, people, NGOs to know if they are legitimate. Don't just jump at any and every opportunity. If it looks too good to be true, it is probably too good to be true
- Purpose, Purpose, Purpose - why are you on a particular platform, why do you have a particular connection, why are you opening that social media account? You should have a long term plan. Is it for personal or professional use? What will I gain from it? Will it teach me, educate me, or inform me? Do I share the same principles or do the norms, objectives, and practices of that group, connection, company or organization align with mine
I hope this is helpful
Thanks for reading