Digi Domi

Sharing my passion for technology and learning.

Denial is futile

on March 13, 2013

When I was growing up I always thought my parents were model citizens, and indeed they are in many ways, but they are also human.

With our lives logged on social media sites, and categorised in date order, even framed in a timeline, like a personalised episode of ‘This is your life’ for the ‘digital generation’, denial is futile.

It struck me the other day, that my mother might have been able to keep up the appearance that she was a totally innocent teenager, with little photographic evidence of her life. The images that did exist were under her complete control, hidden in dusty photo albums out of reach. On the other hand when I have children my entire life, since the age of 15 (and anything prior I have later posted) will be available online for my children’s perusal. If I decided I’d like to deny that I’ve ever gone to a party, too bad, there are pictures of me celebrating NYE and birthdays, uploaded by others, some of whom I may have lost contact with. They could read through my past tweets, see that ‘mummy uses bad language’ (on occasions). I do try to keep it clean online, with employers and potential employers online I’d like to portray myself as respectable, however we are all human, and although there may not be pictures of me with my knickers on my head (not that I do that in my spare time) I still couldn’t pretend to my children that I was Snow White!

So, is this a problem? Will I be constantly undermined by my social media timeline when trying to discipline my future children? Will they turn to a life of crime because of a lack of enforceable rules created by social media? I’d certainly hope not. And indeed I see no reason why that should be so. As long as I continue to operate sensibly on social media, there will never be anything to prevent me being an authority figure in my future children’s lives. As far as them seeing my past, again this shouldn’t be a problem. Perhaps it will force me to be more realistic and honest in my parenting, and not relying on ‘do as I say, not as I do.’ I can be upfront that ‘yes, mummy may use the occasional bad word, but that makes her naughty’. I don’t believe that a parent should have to be infallible, it’s an unrealistic expectation. Of course it might sound a bit premature to suggest they will see this content whilst they still refer to me as ‘mummy’ and do not themselves use ‘bad words’, however I honestly feel that children are starting to use online environments from a younger age. Even if they do not have their own accounts, they might look at my account. I see it as an opportunity to teach them about online etiquette as, for me, this is now as important as general manners for children of the future (it’s important now and my children haven’t even been conceived yet, so who knows how important it will be by then!)

Of course this may pose more problems for those users of social media who are not careful, those who do have picture of them with knickers on their head, smoking and punching someone in the face (which is quite a picture). This could prove more challenging to be upfront about, and will certainly take strong parenting to navigate. It’s not only pictures that are a potential problem. what is your children see you bullying someone on Twitter because they had a valid opinion, but did not agree with your own? Are you teaching them that it’s okay to bully if someone is different to you? Sadly I fear that many of the individuals who conduct themselves in this way may not be that bothered about raising their children to be open minded, caring and reflective individual that contribute positively to society. For those people, it will simply make it difficult for them to use the phrase ‘things weren’t like this in my day, youngsters now have no respect for anything!’.

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One response to “Denial is futile

  1. Great post Domi – a lot of people think that an ability to understand how to do something means they understand the repercussions of what they do/did. These are totally different – knowing how to tag a friend in your Facebook photo does not mean you understand what the implication is to that person (especially if you’re tagging them in a holiday photo when they’re supposed to be at home from work sick).

    Examples:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/6968320/Half-of-employers-reject-potential-worker-after-look-at-Facebook-page.html

    http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/you-could-be-fired-for-liking-a-facebook-page-20120509-1ybvp.html

    Digital Literacy and safety online is going to be a big problem if schools and colleges do not act soon to inform and educate – some are well ahead of the curve but I fear, considering we still hear stories of the stupid things teenagers get caught for, many are just not interested (or bothered).

    All the best, David

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