One of the highlights of 2015, is that ED Unloaded got invited to speak at the Ministry of Education (MOE) Cyber Wellness Conference. Through it, we got to speak to about 350 parents about the Internet and Parenting. The Guest of Honor of that day was Ms. Sim Ann (Minister of State, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Communications and Information) and we were privileged to have her grace the occasion.
It was interesting to hear different Parenting views from the participants and through my interaction with the crowd, I was able to further crystallize my thoughts about Parenting. I think that it is very difficult to Parent without convictions. We must be aware that the Internet opens a wealth of information to kids, and we must be able to filter the information given to them.
I think that sometimes Parents want so much to be friend that they forget that it is a process. We must first be a Parent, and later on, become a friend to them. Being a Parent means that we must be able to make “Tough Decisions”, and regulate the time that our kids have on the Smartphone or Internet. No matter how much they whine or beg, we must have our convictions about certain issues. Giving them less “Face Time” with the Internet will not kill them, but it just means that we need to be more involved as Parents to occupy their time.
Personally, I have nothing against Computer games, as I grew up playing them as well. When I was 13-14 years old, I was addicted to my Apple 2 pc. Games were much simpler, back in the 1980s. The games today are much more violent, sexual and aggressive, and most of them come with age restrictions. Parents need to ensure that our kids are playing with Age Appropriate games.
Is “Trash Talk” in pc games appropriate for our children?
I think these games are definitely a NO-NO for Primary School kids. However, when they become teens, the issue of control is harder to enforce, and we may Not be able to say NO so easily.
I firmly believe that Active Parenting is very much the “essence” in the formative years of our children. We should NOT be opening up the floodgates and giving our children “FREE Reign” with their mobile devices, and as a result, worry about internet addiction in their later years. If they are only given a few hours a week on the Internet when young, it will be easier to give them more in their later years. Hopefully, our personal involvement will set a positive tone regarding our children’s “Choices”, as they enter their Teenage years.