Balancing the freedom to discover with the need to control
Viv Groskop made an interesting point in the Guardian when she said there is a constant battle between demands for privacy and safety. She tells us that Jamie Oliver has banned his eldest daughter (11) from social media and the use of a mobile phone because he discovered that she had set up an Instagram account in secret with her sister. “Poppy is the only girl in her class without a mobile. It may sound harsh but I do worry about the bullying that can go on these sites.”
I guess we can all sympathise with Jamie as parents but I also really feel for Poppy.
Let’s face it, Poppy was being a digital native. Digital parents, carers and educators can’t stop or control the pace of technology. But we can seek advice and those of us who have experience and insights can suggest ‘best practices’. We must accept that we are all going to get it wrong some time or another. As with all of life’s mistakes, it’s what we learn and how we respond that really matters. It’s how we balance the freedom we give our children with the need to control. Let’s rephrase that… the freedom we give our children with the need to learn control.
It’s when our children or we are secretive that problems occur so here’s an opportunity for a public figure to demonstrate how a parent can work with their children in the name of digital openness. If we ban, if we avoid the issues, If we don’t keep up with our digital natives, our digital children then we may lose them and control altogether.
Food for thought…