July 13, 2024
Ensuring Social Media Responsibility in 2024: -The Simple Role of Parents and Corporations
Social media's under fire (again!), with Senate grilling bigwigs, while parenting's 'lost art' of handling digital tots gets a comic shout-out. Who'll teach junior netiquette?

Social media platforms are on the hot seat again

The ongoing discussion about the responsibility of social media platforms in influencing the lives of younger users has been brought into the spotlight again. Just recently, as highlighted in the myriad of all these headlines, executives from these platforms were questioned by the Senate about their role in protecting young users from potential harm.

I rarely venture into topics like this, yet I find myself compelled to raise a question that seems to be overlooked amidst the turmoil: Where does the role of parenting fit into this equation? Indeed, when we peep into this pandemonium, it’s easy to direct fingers at faceless corporations, holding them solely accountable for the “bad sh*t” that unfolds in the digital playgrounds.

However, I cannot help but ponder the responsibilities that lie with parents. Isn’t it within the parental domain to guide and supervise their children’s engagement with these powerful yet potentially perilous tools? The internet, for all its virtues, is a boundless expanse, where the naive and the young can easily stray into troublesome waters.

While technology companies certainly have an obligation to create safer environments, can we, as a society, afford to let go of the fundamental premise that parenting should also evolve to contend with the digital age challenges? It’s a symbiotic relationship where the guardianship necessitates staying informed, active, and sometimes, learning to navigate these digital realms alongside their children.

The parental role may be as critical as ever in instilling digital literacy and ensuring that children understand the ramifications of their online presence. Discussions at the dinner table, setting appropriate boundaries, and using available technology to monitor and limit exposure where necessary are all part of modern parenting techniques.

An overlooked yet significant aspect is that of example setting. Children do not only learn from what they are told; they learn from what they see. Parents who themselves are glued to screens inadvertently send a message that this is the norm, somewhat diluting the effectiveness of their guidance.

In sum, it is clear that the onus cannot be shouldered by the tech companies alone. While they are being rightfully scrutinized and called upon to enforce better protective measures, the heart of the home—parenting—must rise to the challenges posed by the digital age. It is in this multisectoral collaboration between technology providers, governments, and families that the well-being of the younger generation can best be safeguarded.

What do you expect them to do?

Social Media Do Something
Do something Social Media

Oh, you gotta love it when the powers that be, who probably think a ‘tweet’ is still the sound a bird makes, start hollering at all the social media bigwigs to “DO something.” It’s like watching your grandpa try to use a smartphone for the first time—equal parts adorable and horrifying.

Picture this: a bunch of seasoned politicos waving their fingers at tech CEOs saying, “Make the interwebs safe for the kiddos!” Meanwhile, they’re about as helpful with specifics as a cat is with a Rubik’s Cube. It’s like shouting, “World peace, stat!” and then proceeding to play hot potato with a live grenade.

Come on, guys, you can’t just yell “Fix it!” like you’re trying to reboot the internet. It’s all about that common sense. If we’re waiting for Uncle Sam to lay down the parenting law or for Silicon Valley to babysit, we might as well be waiting for pigs to update their Instagram with their latest flight adventures. Parents, it’s time to swap your capes for aprons, ’cause you’ve got some serious digital parenting to whip up!

Do you want them to spy on you?

omnipotent social media giants with virtual magnifying glasses
Social Media Spying on You

It’s a grand ol’ social media conundrum! Just imagine, omnipotent social media giants with virtual magnifying glasses scrutinizing every pixel and letter we dare to upload. Imagine, uploading a selfie and immediately getting a notification, “We see you’ve skipped leg day… again.”

Think of it as a digital nanny, always peeking over your shoulder, ready to wag a finger if you even think about posting that spicy meme. They’ll be fishing out the no-nos of internet discourse, casting a wide net for certain keywords and images, while we whine, “I just wanted some likes, not a lecture!”

Then comes the chorus of privacy enthusiasts, crying out like a Greek tragedy, “Alas, they’re robbing us of our precious secrets!” Meanwhile, Big Brother’s social media edition is convinced the key to Utopia is a dash of surveillance with a pinch of control. Who knew 1984 would be less of a dystopian novel and more of a user manual for internet platforms?

Parents need to start parenting.

social media parenting
Parenting on social media

Oh, the joys of parenthood! Where every gray hair is a badge of honour, and sleep is but a distant memory. Look, we’ve all been in the “not-so-great parents” boat at one time or another, navigating the treacherous waters of modern upbringing. But hey, let’s not start a finger-pointing fiesta just because little Timmy decided to test if the cat can do a triple flip.

Blaming social media for all childhood mischief is like blaming the spoon for making you eat that entire tub of ice cream – convenient, but not quite on the mark. Let’s face it, kids have been perfecting the art of rebellion since the dawn of time. Nowadays, they’re just livestreaming it.

Back in the days before Wi-Fi, bullies were the local celebrities of the playground, and guess what? We came up with innovative strategies to deal with them – like outrunning them or perfecting the art of invisibility (aka hiding in the janitor’s closet). Today, the solution could be as revolutionary as hitting the ‘off’ switch on the phone or maybe launching it into the nearest body of water for a much-needed digital detox.

And remember that time when your folks didn’t form a parental vigilante group to storm the castle at the first sign of trouble? Instead, the bully’s embarrassed parents were the talk of the next PTA meeting, and boy, did they get a stern looking-at!

So, dear fellow parents, maybe it’s time to zip up the blame suit and don a cape of responsibility. After all, we’re raising the rulers of tomorrow’s Internet. No pressure, right? Keep calm, parent on, and maybe, just maybe, hide the iPad before things get too dystopian.


Conclusion - Social media

Social media continues to be a potent force shaping our world, our communities, and our personal lives. Whether we view it as a digital canvas for self-expression or a battleground for public discourse, we must acknowledge its pervasive presence and the impact it has on our day-to-day interactions.

How do you ride the waves of tweets, posts, and shares? Whether social media is your stage, your soapbox, or simply a space to connect with others, your experiences and insights are invaluable as we collectively navigate this dynamic landscape.

We invite you to join the conversation and share your thoughts on this social media hot topic. Comment below to let us know your stance, share your stories, or offer advice on the matter. Every voice matters in the vast symphony of social dialogue—let’s hear yours.

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