Parenting in the Digital Era: Why Daddies Matter

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By Noor Nakato, ICPAU

Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, oh, I dare not go on for there is probably a new social media platform launched every other day. These have numerous advantages: they are a source of entertainment; they are very informative; and they allow for faster communication and interaction across the globe. Yes, social media does come with all these benefits and probably even more but, as a parent, did you know that it can be extremely toxic to your child/children? If yes, what are you doing about it?

While speaking at the 24th Annual Seminar, on the subject, Parenting in the Digital Era, Mrs. Beatrice Langa, the Human Resources Manager at International Aid Services cautioned parents to be aware of the numerous challenges that social media presents and how these can be mitigated.

“When it comes to posting information on social media, children do not know how much is too much and this has led to encroachment on their privacy, thereby posing a serious threat to their safety,” Mrs. Langa said.

Social media is time consuming and allows for no engagement in real-life interactions. Children have been exposed to a world of nudity, obscenity, sexual slavery, homosexuality, cyberbullying, cybercrime and a hoard of evils. In light of this, parents need to protect their children.

Mrs. Langa advised parents to: exercise discretion when allowing their children access to smartphones and the internet; teach children to only accept friend requests from people they know, post wisely and unfriend people who threaten their safety; and make a deliberate decision to parent by becoming allies of their children.

“Every child needs an adult ally to help them navigate not just the social media but all of life, because it is a turbulent life out there,” she said.

She further stressed the importance of the role of the father in parenting and need for fathers to be present in every aspect of their children’s upbringing.

“It is known that mothers are involved in the parenting of their children and they do a great job but fathers often feel that above and beyond providing food, shelter, education, medical care, a good vacation, the rest can be done by the mother,” Mrs. Langa said. “Children who have connected relationships with their fathers have a good self-concept: higher self-esteem and higher moral maturity,” she added.

Studies indicate that fathers who are involved with their children protect the virginity of their children and girls who are deprived of father attention grow up feeling very unsure about their femininity and their self-worth and are constantly looking for affirmation by attracting attention and praise. They fill the gap in inappropriate ways, turning to men, for the hug they never got from dad. Studies show that girls perform better academically when their fathers show them warmth.

According to Mrs. Langa, the case for the boys is no different. She noted that in dealing with fatherlessness, boys look for a father’s honour and affection in the wrong places, through looking for performance achievement, money, possession, sporting prowess and fame, almost to the point of addiction, and lacking sensitivity towards others.

She emphasized the need for parents to work on the “mom-dad relationship” to help children feel secure and improve their self-esteem and moral maturity. She also urged parents to model the social media behavior they want to see in their children.

Organised by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU), the Annual Seminar runs from 4-6 September 2019, at Imperial Resort Beach Hotel, Entebbe. The Seminar is the premium event for accountants in Uganda, for purposes of continuing professional development.

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