Ash Imani receives a timely and important Christmas lesson about social media and privacy – from his five-year-old daughter. #outofthemouths…
Parenting is bloody hard work. You need to be a nutritionist, psychologist, educator, social scientist, counsellor…the list goes on. For something that requires no formal qualifications, it sure demands a lot of expertise.
We’re so uncertain as parents; always worrying whether we’re making the right decisions. We’re constantly trying to strike that precarious balance between guiding them towards the right path; ensuring they learn from our experiences and mistakes, whilst at the same time encouraging them to safely individuate and become the masters of their own destinies.
Every now and then, they do something that gives you that little bit of confidence that you might be on the right track.
Social media has become such a ubiquitous part of our lives. We’re constantly seeking the approval of our social networks, often without realising that we’re doing it. We tend to forget to take a moment and obtain even our own consent when turning our private lives into fodder for social media consumption, let alone taking any steps to protect the privacy of our children.
My daughter, who turns six next year, wrote my wife and I a lovely Christmas letter. We were beaming with pride. All I could think about was sharing her wonderful message with the whole world. Part of me wanted to show off to anyone who’d listen what wonderful parents we were:
“Look world! This is how you parent! Look what we’ve created! Eat your heart out!”
There’s nothing like a stern word from your child to bring you back down to Earth and highlight your failings.
I pleaded with her to let me share her beautifully handwritten letter on Facebook. I even resorted to my rarely used parenting manipulation techniques:
“The family can all see what a kind and caring person you are!”
She didn’t buy it. She steadfastly refused.
“I wrote this letter for you and Mummy and I want to keep it private,” she declared with her usual stubborn confidence.
Out of the mouths of babes…
It’s mind-blowing how much these little people can teach us, even about something seemingly out of their reach like social media, if we just choose to listen to them.
I thought there would be a few more Christmases until my little girl proved to be smarter than her Daddy. This is a competition I’m more than happy to lose. It’s amazing how being thoroughly schooled by your five-year-old daughter can make all your Christmases come at once.