The Many Ways Social Media Affects Parenting Online & Offline!

Yesterday evening, I had a very interesting conversation with a parent who joined Facebook after the persistence of his friends. He spoke of his two sons’ reactions when he requested to add them as friends on Facebook by saying “My older son did not hesitate to add me but my younger one felt as if I wanted to stalk him!” He then spoke of how Facebook, in a way, was able to bring him closer to his older son who lives abroad through looking at his posted pictures and status updates.

Parents: Always stay within arms reach

Parents: Always stay within arms reach

This got me thinking….

How do social media tools, channels and platforms affect parenting habits? Is social media widening or narrowing down the generation gap between parents and children? Are parents able to obtain more advice on good parenting habits through social media than any time before?

Parenting is hard as it is!

Aside from the regular day to day behaviors that parents are required to teach their children and the values they need to instill in them, nowadays, parenting seems to have become an even more complex task with the added responsibility of teaching children how to behave online and how to use social media venues! In order to do that properly, parents need to actually sign up and  take time to try out those venues adding more pressure on the parents and their time management approach in efforts to acquire greater skills and knowledge about how social media can influence their children!

Another added responsibility that parents now have due to social media is having the ability to direct children towards the best utilization of those platforms in order to develop a passion in a certain field and use social media to grow this passion and promote it later on. The old “hit the books” saying is not sufficient anymore!

Moreover, and since children “are inherently and intuitively curious naturalists… sponges for knowledge, absorbing, retaining and using new information at astounding rates”, parents should be aware now, more than ever, of their own behaviors throughout their daily conduct inside the house, with others and even through their use of the Internet and social media channels.

Social media paving the way for better parenting….

In a more positive outlook on this matter, and with disregard to the pressures social media can impose on parents, there seems to be a bright light down this web 2.0 tunnel! Many parents seem to have learned how to better connect and deal with their kids through their use of social media, getting them closer to their children and portraying them as “cool technology savvy parents”.

Furthermore, many new social media sites and services such as ParentDish – a site that offers advice, news, opinions and reviews for moms and dads who want to be informed, educated parents – and WeezKids – a family friendly social media channel – are emerging in order to enhance the overall parent-child online and offline experience. Another example is  Educating Kids and Parents about Social Media from Clearcast Digital Media.

A Parent’s Guide to Technology

Finally, and as you can see, there is no clear cut line between the added value social media brings into the parenting equation and the pressures social media can impose on parent-child relationships but at least after reading this post, you can formulate your own opinion of how to deal with this issue.

Looking forward to reading your feedback.

Comments and Reactions

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ FadiPick

    My teenage brother refuses to accept my mother's friend request on facebook! He used to have me, and then removed me when I reported a picture he posted to mother! Parenting is hard as you have put it.

    It is a tough question as well, I mean for parents not being aware of social media and the tools they can have to communicate with their children, it is a gap widening situation, but for those who are aware of it and do actually use it in a good way, it can help them get more information about their children and practice other ways of communication with them.

  • http://www.weezkids.com/ Tareq Mahmud

    Hi Beirut,
    Interesting article and thank you for mentioning my site http://www.weezkids.com in your post. We all have different ideas on how we want to keep our children safe on the web. For my site I want to have a safe environment for children of all ages so that every parent can feel safe if their child is spending time on weezkids. That is why I need hep from all parents. I don't think there has been a site yet that takes user inputs to develop a website. I will start with basic functionalities but after that it will be the site users who decide what features should be developed next. I am inviting all parents to join my site for beta testing. At this point I am working on cleaning up my site make it browser campatible and help documentation. Once that is done all registered members will have full access to the site and start suggesting what would make them comfortable as a parent so that their children can freely use my site.

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